Last Saturday’s 38-34 victory at Worthing Raiders merely underlined that Wharfedale have cracked the code for winning away games in SSE National League One.
It was a remarkable eighth victory on the road this season after successes at Tynedale (40-21 on September 28), Hull Ionians (32-25 on October 26), Richmond (18-13, November 9), Blackheath (23-20, December 14), Lough-borough Students (27-7, January 4), Esher (28-26, January 18) and Old Albanians (29-25, March 29).
“We had only won two or three away matches in the seasons immediately before this,” said Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley.
“But it is all about the players’ mind-set. It is still 15 against 15 on a piece of grass and we definitely have the skill levels to win.”
Maybe the Greens, who complete their programme on Saturday at Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, were inspired by the presence of 11 cyclists from the Dalesmen’s club at the Sussex club’s ground last Saturday afternoon.
They set off from The Avenue last Wednesday to raise money for the Sue Ryder Hospice.
“We delayed going into the changing rooms beforehand to meet them. It did give us a lift as we had been sitting in a hotel room while they were out in the wind and rain raising money for charity,” said Feeley.
“As for next season, we need to improve our home form and our set-piece, as it was the set-piece late on against Worthing that won us the match.”
There had been some doubt about the Cinderford match taking place earlier in the week from the home club’s point of view but it was confirmed on Tuesday night that it would be going ahead.
Wharfedale’s selection is certainly intriguing enough to make their supporters want to travel.
Despite being deprived of the services of Josh Prell and Josh Burridge, who are on duty at Twickenham with the Yorkshire in the Under-20 County Championship fiinal on Sunday against Northumberland, the Greens selectors have still gone for exuberant youth.
Perhaps for the first time, three brothers, all of them three-quarters, are selected in the starting line-up, with Tom and Will Davidson joined by brother Robbie, one of the stars of last season’s cup-winning Wharfedale Colts side.
Tom Barrett returns at fly half, making room at full back for Taylor Prell, who has returned from his service with England Under-18s.
In the pack, Jack Ramshaw joins Jack Barnard, Matt Beesley again starts at prop as Chris Steel recovers on the bench.
Tom Whyte makes his first league appearance off the bench after a fine season with the victorious Foresters.
Wharfedale: Taylor Prell; Will Davidson, Joe Donkin, Tom Davidson, Robbie Davidson; Tom Barrett, Philip Woodhead (captain); Matt Beesley, Luke Cole, Adam Howard, Jack Powell, Richard Rhodes, Jack Ramshaw, Jack Barnard, Aaron Myers. Replacements: Chris Steel, Ian Larkin, Tom Whyte, Jimmy Bullough, James Druce.