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It' an uphill battle for North Ribblesdale
Dinnington 23 North Ribblesdale 8
North Ribblesdale left empty handed after a disappointing afternoon at Dinnington.
After dominating play for the first 35 minutes playing up the slope, they conceded a try against the run of play courtesy of more powder- puff tackling by the pack.
This gave the home side the lift they needed to kick on through the second half for a decisive victory.
Ribb made light of starting without the Davidson brothers Will and Rob who were delayed in traffic.
With substitute Rob Hayes on one wing and flanker Nathan Dakin on the other they were soon on the attack.
A smart move off the front of the line-out after ten minutes should have brought a try, but Ribb were held up over the line.
John Thwaite also got over the line but couldn’t ground the ball while another front of the line move looked set to result in a try for Adam Stubbs until he was called back for a forward pass.
David Fox was denied by a cruel bounce and too was denied a try by a forward pass.
Ribb battled and pressured the home pack but could not breakthrough.
There delivery of the ball to the back line is woefully slow.
In addition Ribb’s game seems very complicated and appears to require a constant stream of instructions from the touchline.
Rugby is an intuitive game and cannot be played by numbers.
Ribb have excellent broken field runners in Steve Moon, Robbie Davidson, David Fox and Simon Bolland but the slow ball reduces their effectiveness.
The service to Bolland was so laborious that he was easily contained by his opposite number.
After 35 minutes Dinning- ton hacked a loose kick clear before winning slow ball from the ruck.
However a feeble tackle put Gary Woodcock through and he fed Matthew Starr who scored close to the posts.
Ribb did come back and a fine break by Robbie Davidson gave him space to slide the ball behind the winger but a cruel bounce left Fox clutching at fresh air.
Davidson did claw back three points with a 40-metre drop goal to end the half.
It was obvious what Dinnington were going to do in the second half – use their big forwards to charge up the middle.
Ribb should have been out of sight but were not in a bad position, four points adrift playing down the slope, but they could not get hold of the ball.
Led by Dunn, who is an explosive runner, they kept the ball for long periods driving Ribb back.
This sort of play leads to penalties and Jonny West took two opportunities to extend the lead to 13-3 after 60 minutes .
Ribb were still winning the set piece but could not make any headway.
In contrast Dinnington repeatedly drove the ball forward at every opportunity.
Ribb’s back defence was more than equal to the task, despite their side constantly giving away ground. A penalty from West struck a post and when the ball squirted out of a ruck on the Ribb line, Andrew Whitt- ingham darted over for another converted try.
Ribb responded when Hayes, back on the pitch, made a darting break.
Hayes is quick and elusive and was soon up to the home 22 where the full back halted his charge.
Hayden Viles was on hand to pass to Graham Newhouse who went over for a try wide out.
The conversion was narrowly wide. At 20-8 with ten minutes to go it was still possible to fightback, but Ribb had now retreated into their shell.
The initiative was lost and Dinnington finished with a drop goal from West.
There were clear lessons from this defeat.
Dinnington were far more aggressive in their ball carrying, they also kept the score ticking over by taking penalties when they were on offer.
Ribb turned down an easy penalty in the first half and Davidson’s lone drop goal was a poor reward for the ball and territory they had in the first half.
Ribb were unlucky in having tries disallowed but you have to accept the rub of the green and get on with it.
They had enough possession and territory in the first half to put the game out of site.
Ribb are not safe from relegation and need to pick up their game in the coming weeks.