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Moon's drop goal helps North Ribblesdale to end unbeaten record
4:33pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in Sport
Huddersfield YMCA 22 North Ribblesdale 23
Stephen Moon kicked a dramatic late drop goal as his side ended Huddersfield’s YMCA unbeaten Yorkshire Division One record in an absorbing contest on Saturday.
Ribb had to show bags of character as they came from 12-3 down after just ten minutes to win by a single point.
The final few minutes had the loyal Ribb supporters biting their finger nails.
They saw Moon’s drop kick wobble over the bar to put their side 23-19 up, only to see Gavin Stead kick a penalty from near the halfway line.
Then they had to endure a frantic final attack when the home side were awarded a penalty from a similar range. This time Stead opted to kick for the corner.
YMCA won the line-out but lost possession of the ball and Moon seized the opportunity to kick the ball off the park to herald the final whistle in a match that was a credit to both sides.
Ribb found themselves on the back foot from the start as YMCA tried to underline why they are the league leaders. Ribb have worked hard on defence recently and it showed.
Jonathan Richards kicked an early penalty but the home side hit back to score two tries in quick succession through Simon Whitehead and Josh Wrafter with Stead adding one conversion.
Ribb were struggling to get into the game. Their tactical radar was awry and though they were winning possession their pick and drive tactics from their own 22 kept them under pressure.Perhaps a kick to the corner would have been more productive.
The salvation was the scrum where they were putting real pressure on the home eight. From this platform they clawed their way back into the game.
The score was unchanged but YMCA had lost heir dominance and were starved of possession.The half finished with Ribb having a succession of scrums on the home line.
A little more experience at the back of the scrum or a less lenient referee would have seen a pushover or a penalty try, but as it was the score remained 12-3.
Ribb made the perfect start to the second half. Chris Heap won good turn over ball and this allowed Will Davidson to make a slicing break which sent winger Ben Mitchell racing in for a try in the corner. Richards landed the conversion to make it 12-10.
New number eight Matt Speres, who had been prominent in defence turned to offence.
John Thwaite fielded the restart in his own 22 and slipped the ball to Speres who set off on a barnstorming run.
He took play into the opposition 22 before finding the supporting Moon who switched play for full back David Fox to score in the corner. Richards kicked a difficult conversion to give Ribb a 17-12 lead.
Ribb were in a dominant mood. The scrum was on top, the line-out secure with the bonus of Russell Ingham’s three steals of the opposition ball.
The Ribb trio of Moon Richards and Davidson continually frustrated the home midfield, which has been a key factor in this season’s success.
YMCA were unable to pierce the Ribb midfield and the visitors looked to have the game secure with ten minutes to go after another Richards penalty, but back came the league leaders.
Ryder saw space on the right, some good handling put Whitehead in for his second try which Ryder converted to make it 20-19.
The Ribb eight got down to business and won a series of second phase balls to put Moon within potting distance.
Eventually from good scrum ball he dropped a goal. It wasn’t elegant but it was effective.
Ribb won possession from the kick off and took the ball into the home half but possession was lost and Ryder put the ball into the 22.
The North Yorkshire men won the line-out and drove to the ten metre line, but were then penalised in possession. Ryder stepped up and fired the ball over like a cannon with two minutes to go.
Ribb kicked off and conceded another penalty. Amazingly, Ryder chose to go for the corner and it was a decision that YMCA would rue.
The danger was cleared from the final line-out of the game and Ribb had another win.
It means they will be in good heart for Saturday’s testing home game with third-placed Wath.
The Ribb seconds lost their unbeaten record to a strong Huddersfield YMCA side 31-7.
Full back Robbie Davidson and scrum half Peter Cook played well while the pack battled gamely.