Wharfedale Foresters 36

Harrogate Georgians 14

WHARFEDALE Foresters beat their rivals Harrogate 36-14 in a derby that counted for both the Yorkshire Merit and Northern Pilot leagues.

Foresters are in a battle at the top of each table, seeking to win both titles.

Wharfedale have a strong Foresters side this year and Saturday was no exception with several players in contention for first team places.

Wharfedale received the kick-off uphill into the wind and were soon into their stride with both wingers, Joe Fawcett and Eddie Gill, seeing early ball and making yards on both flanks. Their forwards also made an impression, winning the first scrum against the head.

Dale's first score came from a line-out on halfway and a kick through that was gathered by Gill for a unconverted try.

The next few phases saw Harrogate gain parity in possession and prop Sam Booker display his carrying and handling skills and his indiscipline with a yellow card for pulling down an attacking maul.

From the resulting penalty and line-out, Harrogate moved the ball into the midfield and their No 8 supported with a burst for a converted try to make it 7-5 to Harrogate.

From the re-start, Wharfedale hooker Ben Parkinson made huge holes in the defence, supported by Elliott Stockdale. He off-loaded to Andrew Rhodes, who crashed over for an unconverted try.

For the rest of the half, Wharfedale dominated territory and possession; carries from Jack Wells, man of the match Chris Swainson and a break from Rhodes created space for Rory MacNab to score and convert his own try, making it 17-7 to Wharfedale.

Foresters started the second half with pressure and a well-worked try saw Fawcett show his pace and score.

With Foresters 22-7 up, the men in green continued to press but brave, solid defence from Harrogate prevented a score.

A bit of magic from Rhodes saw his mercurial cross-field kick drop perfectly into the hands of Gill for a try converted by Rory MacNab.

Foresters were again on the scoresheet with their dominant scrum winning ball against the head and fly half kicking through for second row Jacob Taylor to pounce and power through tackles for a converted try.

This score from Foresters galvanised the visitors who played their best rugby in the last 10 minutes and scored a converted try to make the final score 36-14 to the Dalesmen.