Wharfedale look to follow up Esher win by denting Rosslyn Park's hopes

Craven Herald: Josh Burridge impressed in the second row Buy this photo Josh Burridge impressed in the second row

Having produced a stunning performance to win 28-26 at Esher last week, Wharfedale are now facing another big test.

Second-placed Rosslyn Park are the visitors to The Avenue on Saturday and coach Jon Feeley is calling on his men to make another big effort.

The Londoners are setting high standards this season, with a 100per cent home record in National League One.

Their only defeats have come at Fylde, Doncaster and Blaydon.

Last October they put the injury-depleted Greens to the sword with a 51-20 victory, their second 50-point score against Wharfedale in successive seasons.

But Wharfedale, who have lost their last two home games against Fylde and Tynedale, beat Park 33-24 when they last ventured to Threshfield.

Feeley isn’t bothered by past records or statistics. “It’s what we do now that matters not what has happened before,” he said.

The man who has guided Wharfedale to fifth place and got them playing a refreshing brand of rugby, added: “We have to look to perform like we did at Esher.

“I was very proud of the players, especially after going 10-0 down in the first five minutes.

“What troubled me most in the opening quarter was the fact that it looked as if we didn’t feel as if we belonged on the same pitch as Esher.

“However, I knew from our home victory over Esher that we could beat them if we had the belief to execute our plans.

“I thought the players showed enormous strength of character to hit back with two excellent tries from Joe Donkin before half-time.

“In the second half they were exceptional. The defence was simply outstanding and Esher were consistently being forced backwards when they looked to attack, such was the ferocity of our tackling.”

One player to earn special praise for his performance was makeshift second row Josh Burridge.

“He was solid in the scrum, extremely mobile about the park and gave us another line-out option,” said Feeley about the young wing forward’s performance in his new role.

With Richard Rhodes still out Burridge has deservedly retained his place in an unchanged team.

There had been a concern over the availability of England international Dan Scarbrough with an eye injury but he has been declared fit to play.

The only change is on the bench where the versatile forward Chris Howick replaces Adam Howard.

With injuries having led to the loss of Rhodes and Leeds loanee Christian Georgiou in recent weeks, Feeley will be relieved to be able to name an unchanged side.

Feeley believes in continuity and two areas of the team where he feels it has been key are in the back row and the midfield.

“The trio of Rob Baldwin, Aaron Myers and Jack Barnard have been immense in the back row.

“They get through so much work and have been a key part of our success this season,” said Feeley.

“The link at ten and 12 between Tom Barrett and Tom Davidson has also developed,” he added.

“Their partnership has helped us to develop and expand the attacking style of rugby we like to play.

“Both of them have been playing their best rugby for the club.”

Wharfedale: Dan Scarbrough; Scott Jordan, Joe Donkin, Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Tom Barrett, Philip Woodhead; Chris Steel (c), Dan Stockdale, Jake Armstrong, Richard Brown, Josh Burridge, Jack Barnard, Aaron Myers, Rob Baldwin.

Replacements: Neil Dickinson, Chris Howick, Jim Mason, Matt Dudman, Will Davidson.

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