Wharfedale Foresters 39

York 2nds 3

by David Colgrave

WHARFEDALE Foresters continued their fine start to the Yorkshire Merit League season with a convincing win against a spirited York side at a wet and windy Avenue last Saturday.

Following on from their demolition of Doncaster Phoenix the week before, the Forester Faithful were treated to another game of fast, free flowing back play, determined defence and a pack of forwards that hunt together, enjoy open off-loading rugby but never shirk the physical contest at scrum and breakdown.

Receiving the ball uphill and into the wind, Elliot Stockdale made good ground immediately and put York under early pressure. The big Forester second rower had an excellent game, gaining yards with every carry.

However, it wasn’t long before Dale’s pacey wingers Eddie Gill and Josh Prell got into the action. An excellent line-out catch and drive put the men in green on the front foot, Prell made a dashing break and found his wingman, Gill who went over in the corner to make it 5-0.

York worked their way back into the match with a long range penalty to make it 5-3 to the Foresters.

Foresters kept up the pressure, mixing hard yards up front with expansive play across the three quarters and a break from Ben Parkinson led to Prell scoring. An excellent conversion wide out from Rory McNabb made it 12-3 to Wharfedale.

The forwards put pressure on the bigger York scrum and Gill sliced through the York defence allowing Ralph Wellock to outstrip the cover defence, giving Forester a 17-3 half-time lead.

Despite being on top for much of the first half, the Foresters lost their way early in the second half; as York’s replacements made an immediate impact and contained the home side.

Eventually the Forester’s greater possession and determination to work the ball downfield led to a Sam Mason try, which was converted by McNabb.

The Foresters extended their lead when Gill was put into space twice down the left, where he outpaced York's winger and full-back to touch down wide.

The converted try made it 34-3 and Gill had yet another hat-trick.

The final score of the game came after an excellent Forester line-out created space for Gill and Prell to break and swap passes down the left. Prell went over for his second try as Foresters won 39-3.