HAVING had a man sent off and trailing 8-0 at home to Luctonians in a vital bottom-of-the-table clash in National League Two North, it would have been understandable if Wharfedale's effort had faded away.

However, exactly the opposite happened as the Greens won 34-15, showing the character that head coach James Doherty knew that they possessed all along.

"It was certainly a strange start," said Doherty of a contest in which visitor James Scott was sin-binned after just four seconds and the hosts' George Hedgley was sent off for stamping inside the opening ten minutes.

Scott went to the cooler for a high tackle on Hedgley, who was on his way down after catching the ball in what Doherty described as the right call, while he said that the dismissal of Hedgley was "slightly harsh".

The former scrum half added: "However, we have no real complaints as George was carrying the ball and trod on the back of their player who was on the wrong side.

"It was reckless, rather than deliberate, but this is not tiddlywinks that we are playing."

What pleased Doherty the most, however, was the reaction of the other 19 players in the match-day squad in the subsequent 70 minutes or so, with the pack, despite being a man light, not taking a backward step.

He said: "We knew that we would have to rotate the players because of the efforts that they were putting in, but everyone rallied round.

"We also showed composure, and centre Joel Gill, who is one of our stronger backs, helped the pack to win a penalty as we began to assert control."

One of the backs who earnt his spurs was 30-year-old rugby league product Rhys Lovegrove, who played five times for Bradford Bulls in 2016 before having to retire due to concussion.

Doherty sees the now-recovered Australian, who has also played for St George Illawarra, Hull KR and London Broncos, as an ideal No 12, having seen him make his debut against Luctonians.

He said: "Rhys, who is still working for Doncaster RL but has family in Pateley Bridge, is playing for us due to an innocuous conversation with Phil Peel and Andy Hodgson.

"He carries the ball well and is defensively solid and enjoys our culture but hasn't played union for about 13 years prior to us and is still coming to terms with things like rucking and other bits and bobs."

More good news was that Josh Burridge, who has been out with hamstring and foot problems since early October, played for the Foresters last Saturday in their 17-0 victory at Morley.