Blaydon Georgians 12 Wharfedale Foresters 34

DON'T let the scoreline mislead you, this was a hard-fought game and the Foresters did extremely well to come away with such a commanding win to take over at the top of the Northern Pilot League.

The game was played on the Blaydon's first-team pitch and with the strong breeze against them the visitors were prepared to be spending much of the first half on the back foot.

In the earlier stages the strong defensive work by the forwards was important.

The Foresters have always played with a sense of adventure and that was reflected in their first try.

The ball was moved out to Josh Prell on the wing who made a typically aggressive break with colleagues in support.

When the ball was recycled Ralph Wellock combined with Will Lawn to catapult the centre over the line.

The reliable Andrew Rhodes landed the difficult conversion to establish a 7-0 lead.

Wharfedale had to show their combative nature when they were forced to defend vigorously after Mark Simpson was yellow carded for a trip on former Wharfedale player Andrew Baggett.

A succession of cheap penalties kept Foresters on the back foot but they kept their line intact.

The Greens marked the return of Simpson with a second try. The powerful Prell and skipper Jimmy Bullough took play deep in the Blaydon half where an attempted clearance kick was charged down and Sam Smith pounced to score. Rhodes hit the post with his conversion attempt.

Centre Simpson was determined to make his mark on the match and scored a try after good continuity work.

The Foresters were playing strong attacking rugby at this stage and richly deserved the next and bonus-point try when Rhodes, after a deft chip through, followed up and scored the fourth try which he also converted. to establish a 24-0 half-time lead.

Blaydon hit back at the start of the second half and forced a number of penalties. Their pressure was rewarded with two tries, one of which they converted, to halve the deficit.

Wharfedale had to regroup to stem the tide. This they surely did and following good work by Joe Metcalfe and Wellock in the tackle, allowed the latter to strip the ball and sprint clear from 35 metres.

Rory McNab, who had taken over kicking duties, missed the conversion from wide out.

A period of parity was disturbed by the rumbustious Prell when he was allowed sufficient room to break down the right, chip ahead and beat Blaydon's covering defence to score, a fine individual try.

It crowned a fine display by the Foresters.

Foresters: Close, J Parkinson, Jackson, Borrill, Smith, Metcalfe, Whyte, Swainson, J Bullough, Rhodes, Prell, Simpson, Lawn, Wellock, B Parkinson. Replacements: Meehan, Atkinson, Whyte, McNab.