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Ribb take the wrong options
Pontefract 24 North Ribblesdale 20
North Ribblesdale were left kicking themselves after poor decision making cost them victory in their opening Yorkshire One match of 2013.
Despite scoring three tries they were made to pay for missing out on two more through their own foolishness.
Twice they kicked away possession with a two-man overlap beckoning and indulged in a pointless arm wrestle with Ponte’s big pack when the home side had two men in the sin bin.
This team will not come into its own until there is far better leadership and decision making.
Pontefract had a self-destruct mentality when in their own 22 as they conceded numerous penalties and yellow cards.
One would have thought that the big boots of Will and Rob Davidson should have been used to keep them close to their own line.
This was perfectly demonstrated in the last ten minutes after Ryan Kirkbride had scored a try to put Ribb three points ahead.
Ribb collected the kick off and started on their infamous off-loading game.
It would appear the purpose of this seems to be to see how many pointless offloads can be achieved before the ball is lost.
On this occasion it was three before the ball was spilled and John Fragley sauntered through a weak defence to score under the posts.
The game had started on a reasonable surface which should have suited Ribb’s game, but they fell behind after a spell of Pontefract when Andy Dean kicked a penalty.
The reply was swift. Kirkbride stole possession from the kick off, Steven Moon made a break and fed Simon Bolland who was tackled on the ten-metre line where he forced a penalty which Robbie Davidson converted.
Ribb went ahead after Chris Heap and Nathan Dakin turned over the ball.
Moon kicked high and Robbie Davidson went racing in under the posts after the home side spilled possession. He also converted. Ribb continued to press and the home crowd was very quiet. They perked up when their pack drove into the Ribb half and Carl Smith scored a try after a rolling maul following a line-out.
The score was converted by Dean to equalise at 10-10.
Ponte came back from the kick off and Ribb were penalised on their own line.
They opted for a scrum and Ribb firm before forcing a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Ribb’s wrong choice of options cost them dearly when they took a quick penalty.
They hoped to catch their opponents off guard but did not take the kick correctly and Ponte were awarded a scrum, from which they scored a converted try to lead 17-10.
The second half saw the Ribb back line at their best and it seemed only a matter of time before Ribb scored.
Ribb had missed several penalties but it did not seem critical. when a fine move saw David Fox race away on the right for an unconverted try.
Ribb collected the kick off and drove into the Ponte 22 again. The home side gave away a series of penalties and had two players sin binned.
Ribb took advantage of this when Kirkbride forced his way over from a scrum for another unconverted try which put Ribb at 20-17.
With a three-point lead against a side who had conceded ten penalties in their own 22, Ribb needed to keep the pressure on by forcing their opponents to defend in their own 22.
They had the ammunition but they chose not to use it.
Instead another careless off load after securing the kick off put Ponte ahead by four points.
Overlaps were spurned and the forwards hogged the ball when the backs possessed the potency to win the match.
Although Ribb were missing a lot of players there was plenty of experience in the side which should have ensured that the right tactics were employed.
Matt Boatwright went well after replacing Will Thwaite who had another sound game while Ethan Henare and sub Richard Lynn both had their moments but are not fit.
The problem was not effort although the missed tackles for Pontes last score were hugely disappointing on an afternoon when Ribb let the game slip from their grasp.