IT was readily apparent that there had been some pre-match school wind-ups when the Under 16’s met their Skipton opposing team. With many of the players being class mates and school team members but now finding themselves playing for opposing sides, it was always going to be an enthusiastic and keenly fought game.

Following strong initial pressure, a focussed Skipton opened the scoring with a try from number 10, Ed Whitlam, in at the corner in his usual determined manner.

Deliberate play from Wharfedale however meant that the Visitors were not going to find it easy. An early yellow card penalty against a Skipton player for a high tackle more akin to a bear hug on George Simpson gave a quick thinking Will Caygill the opportunity to put in a cheeky tap & go try to run over the line against a team unusually caught napping. The attempt at a tough conversion was just pushed wide meaning the scores remained tied.

Good scrummage work and discipline paid off with the visitors repeatedly penalised by a referee who maintained a controlled but free flowing game. This consistency throughout the game of good scrum work, effective well balanced rucking, strong tackling and good movement of the ball along the line had the inevitable effect of grinding down the visitors.

The quality scrum half work by Judd then laying off to Will Caygill gave some good runs to the backs. A wonderful try came from a scrum with good handling skill from Will Heron managing to keep hold of a low ball and then feeding out down the line to find a determined Will Beecroft backing up to run in over the line.

Teamwork was the name of the game throughout and possibly best shown by an outstanding try later in the game following a Skipton kick off. With the kick ably held and taken to ground by Thomas, the ball was then rucked over and fed out down the line through Will C, Will H, with a quality off-load by Callum then going to Will B and to winger Gus who ran in a superb try from deep within his own half.

Some quick thinking cross field kicking constantly opened up the opposition revealed in one instance where pressure coming from a fast approaching home team player caused a catch to be fumbled rewarding the fast actions of George Bevan with a quality try.

With a final 36 - 10 score line incorporating six tries from Will Caygill, Will Beecroft, Dylan, Gus and George Bevan along with three difficult conversions, this is obviously a team that enjoys what it does.

The camaraderie that has built up over the many years of playing together really came to the fore in what is always going to be a keenly fought fixture. It was interesting to see these once young lads, now parading out as young men working together with a strength that justifies the Wharfedale motto.