Foresters Review of the Season 2019/20

As we start to look forward to the new season (whenever that may be!) here is one last look at 2019/20 – a review of the 2nd XV’s outstanding season from our Foresters’ correspondent, coach Matt Shuttleworth.
Foresters Review of The Season
It has been a hugely successful season for the Foresters, losing only twice and going several games without conceding a try! Only to be abruptly halted by Covid-19.

The emergence of young talent, graduating from the Colts has been the key theme, combining with older, more experienced players to create an exciting and highly skilful team. The signing of Max Mountain had given us a physical edge and the referees something extra to think about!!

The opening two wins over North Ribblesdale and Old Brodleians (who went on to win Yorkshire 1) were early indications of a successful season and highlighted the brand of rugby the players were capable of. Henry Mcnab sniping and scoring early in the Brod’s game showed he was more than ready for senior rugby.

Going away to Scunthorpe and coming up against a huge team was  massive test. We went behind in the game early on but showed a character and skillset which they could not live with. Bradley Viner showed his class with a number of tries on the day.

Throughout October and into November the Foresters found a rhythm to their rugby which few sides could compete with, going 5 games without conceding a try. High tempo rugby was played with two of last season’s Colts at the forefront – Louis Verity pulling the strings and Owen Bullock scoring a significant number of the tries.

Injuries took their toll and the 2nd half of the season was more of a grind, with some key players injured or unavailable but other players stepped up. The return of Jack Kitching and James Raper added physicality and quality, the emergence of Elliott Stockton as a leader, replacing Tom Whyte (work commitments) carried on the good momentum, Jake Parkinson had found a real quality to his game and was tackling anything that moved!!

The highlights of the second half of the season were our wins away at Sheffield who were on a fantastic run of games and then away at Scunthorpe where boys avenged a narrow home defeat in January.

This was a terrific collective effort from the players that saw us win the Yorkshire Merit Premiership and sit second in the post Christmas Premiership Conference with games in hand when the season was curtailed, at which point we were also a long way clear in the Northern Pilot League with a maximum 25 points from the five games played. Hard to mention every player when every player who has worn the shirt this season has done something special at some point.

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