Report by: John Clark

WHARFEDALE fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday, with visitors Rotherham sealing a 34-19 victory.

The hosts made a perfect start to the fixture, as a long kick off was fielded by Sam Gaudie and pumped back to halfway where it was knocked on.

Even though Wharfe were pushed back ominously, Gaudie appeared round the blind side, made a searing break before feeding the back, with Louis Verity sending James Coulton through under the posts to leave an easy conversion for Robbie Davidson.

After 7 minutes Lloyd Hayes kicked his first penalty, the start of a fine performance with the boot which yielded 19 points, some penetrative punts to touch and the man of the match award.

More loose play by the visitors led to a Wharfedale threat down the left led by Beau Verity, but a knock on by a supporting prop prevented a try. More intense pressure saw Rob Baldwin just held up after a quick tap penalty, but the supporting Elliot Stockton scored. Robbie Davidson converted.

There were no further tries in the first half, so the Greens went into the break with a 14-3 lead, a just reward for some gutsy and attractive play.

The second half started and some notable tackles by Sam Dickinson and Ben Markey meant that an inevitable try from concerted Rotherham pressure was delayed until Matthew Challinor crossed after 54 minutes.

Then followed six minutes in which the Greens gave away three penalties all kicked by Hayes. Five minutes later, Jack Townend scored for the visitors after a handling error by a Wharfedale back due to the intense pressure being exerted. After the successful conversion Wharfedale were now behind 26-14.

Sam Gaudie, who can never have had a better game, took a quick penalty and after the ball had been transferred through several pairs of hands there was no stopping Omari Kaup-Samuels as he galloped to the line.

Having two scrum halves on the field had certainly worked after Gaudie returned from his technical yellow card on the hour. A breakaway try by former Green, Harry Dunne, completed the scoring in what had been a most entertaining match, a credit to both sides.

The final score was 34-19 in favour of the visitors.

Without doubt the consistency of the Wharfedale Foresters over the past few years has been outstanding and they set off the new season with a number of new names in the squad, indicating that they can still perform to a good level.

Due to traffic problems, the Stags arrived a little late, which allowed spectators to watch both the 1st XV game and then a great deal of the Foresters match. They were not disappointed as whilst this could never be described as scintillating it certainly showed that the Foresters will be a force to be reckoned with and how refreshing for the Wharfedale supporters to have a second fifteen that are always a joy to watch.

On Saturday, they put on a strong opening display to see off Scunthorpe Stags with a scoreline of 50-10.