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Jon Feeley praises his 'flexible friends' as Wharfedale win again
Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley has again praised the flexibility and adaptability of his squad after successive wins over SSE National League One leaders Doncaster and Blackheath.
Preparations for facing their South Yorkshire opponents and Kent-based Blackheath were less than ideal.
Last Saturday’s pre-match schedule was interrupted by Joe Donkin failing a fitness test, Leeds Carnegie recalling Matt Dudman, and Will Bell being unavailable as Katie had presented him with a baby girl at 6am on Saturday.
The previous week, Leeds had recalled Ben Hooper, Christian Georgiou, Jack Barnard and Josh Burridge, while Donkin (ankle) was ruled out an hour before kick-off, scrum half Phillip Woodhead filling in at full back.
Feeley said of his fourth-placed team: “I am extremely proud of them for the way they have adapted to difficult circumstances and playing in different positions.
"It helps when you are winning but they have all put their hands up without hesitation.
“For example, Jack Barnard is a flanker but as a one-off I thought he could play at centre last weekend, and Nick Taylor had to play at full back instead of on the wing.”
Doncaster were beaten 19-17 and Blackheath were defeated 23-20 after a long trip to London.
Both games were settled by drop goals from fly half Tom Barrett, and Feeley said: “There are aspects of his game that Tom knows he needs to work on but last Saturday he showed the skill to create his try and the calmness under pressure to land the drop goal.”
Wharfedale host fifth-placed Fylde on Saturday (2.00) – they are level on points on 51 and play a similar free-flowing style – but Feeley confessed: “I worry about the opposition so the players don’t have to.”
Rob Baldwin is unavailable but Georgiou returns at outside centre and Dan Scarbrough is at full back.
Barnard returns to blind-side flanker, with Aaron Myers at No 8.
Joe Altham is included for the first time in six weeks and could face his brother Peter. Dudman is back and is on the bench.
Wharfedale: Dan Scarbrough; Scott Jordan, Christian Georgiou, Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Tom Barrett, Philip Woodhead; Chris Steel (c), Dan Stockdale, Jake Armstrong, Richard Brown, Richard Rhodes, Jack Barnard, Dan Solomi, Aaron Myers. Replacements: Joe Altham, Adam Howard, Josh Burridge, Matt Dudman, Nick Taylor.
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