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Scott Jordan's hard work is paying dividends
Wharfedale’s match-winning hero Scott Jordan has been praised for the hard work and dedication that has enabled him to bounce back from a serious shoulder injury.
Jordan, whose last-gasp try enabled his side to beat Esher 20-19 at The Avenue on Saturday, was sidelined for much of the last campaign.
Now head coach Jon Feeley has revealed how the talkative Geordie was determined to fight his way back into the team.
He started his pre-season training a month before everybody else and put in a lot of extra hours.
“Although he lives in Chorley he was working in Leeds and used to meet me at the club on his way home to train,” said Feeley.
“He would do general fitness work, sprints and pad work to build up his strength again. He was determined to fight his way back and I am delighted for him.
“His try on Saturday came from a great piece of finishing and it capped a real cliff-hanger.”
The late score brought to an end to Esher’s unbeaten SSE National League One record and put Wharfedale in good heart for Saturday’s trip to play another undefeated side, Rosslyn Park.
The Londoners are currently fifth in the table with four wins and a draw but they have yet to play any of the sides in the top nine.
Park have the best defence in the league so it promises to be another tough test.
Visits to London have been a painful experience for Wharfedale but Feeley is hoping his men will stick to their guns in the match at Roehampton.
He said: “Last week I told the team that we had to concentrate on what we do and not to worry about our opponents. I shall be asking them to do the same again.
“I was delighted that we maintained our focus and kept playing the way we wanted to play. Esher were out on their feet at the end of the game because we kept moving the ball across the park.
“We created lots of pressure but I was disappointed that we spoilt some of our good work with a poor pass. We have to execute our plans better.
“However, if we continue to improve week on week and the players have responded well to the new things we have introduced.
“Obviously games away to London clubs are never easy but it is up to us as a group to adopt the right mindset and not make it a problem.”
Wharfedale welcome back hooker Luke Cole after missing a couple of games through injury, and centre Joe Donkin, unavailable last week, but Christian Georgiou is required by Leeds for their British and Irish Cup campaign, and the Greens also rest full back Adam Whaites to allow him to recover from a slight injury.
Philip Woodhead moves to full back, with Matt Dudman coming in at scrum half.
Versatile back Will Bell comes in on the bench. Jack Barnard gets game time at blind-side, alternating with one of last week’s star performers Josh Burridge, who is on the bench.
Meanwhile the Foresters, whose league fixture at home to Sheffield has been confirmed, welcome back Will Davidson after injury, and include Wharfedale favourite Dan Solomi, who is returning after a broken thumb.
There is also a debut for promising winger Rob Rekis, fresh from Prince Henry’s Grammar School.
Otley, buoyed by their last-gasp home win over Caldy, are fifth in SSE National League Two North, and are at ninth-placed Preston Grasshoppers on Saturday.
They have lost three of their last four league matches at Lighfoot Green, going down 16-4 in 1990-91 in National League Four North and 90-5 and 43-35 in National League Two North in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Ben Steele has reached a milestone. He broke the record for the most league appearances by an Otley hooker when he faced Dudley Kingswinford on September 21.
It was his 204th appearance, breaking the record of 203 made by Duncan Sayers.
Wharfedale: Philip Woodhead; Scott Jordan, Joe Donkin, Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Tom Barrett, Matt Dudman; Joe Altham, Luke Cole, Chris Steel (c), Richard Brown, Richard Rhodes, Jack Barnard, Aaron Myers, Rob Baldwin. Replacements: Tom Margetson, Ian Larkin, Josh Burridge, Dan Stockdale, Will Bell.
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