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North Ribblesdale produce strong finish to secure first league win
12:46pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
North Ribblesdale 18 Old Brodleians 12
North Ribblesdale took control in the final 20 minutes to overcome their combative opponents and secure their first win of the season.
The game was dominated by the midfield defence of both teams.
Ribb broke the impasse in the second half because they changed their game.
In the first half they had run almost everything and although there was plenty of forwards like Will Thwaite and Sam Boatwright offering themselves to break the advantage line the decisive break was missing for both sides.
In the second half Ribb played more in Brods’ half penning them back with kicks into the corners This gave them the platform to put in a rousing finish with a final match-inning try from a searing run by Simon Bolland, who from his introduction to the end, was a menace every time he got the ball.
He came on when Ribb were 12-11 down having clawed their way back with a try by Matt Speres who came back on despite a nasty ear injury.
Jonathan Richards missed the conversion but had earlier kicked two penalties, one a huge effort from 45 metres.
The visiting stand off Wood kicked four penalties to claim all his side’s points.
The first half was played mainly between the 22s with both sides putting their big men on to the short ball.
But defences have improved and were more than capable in both the forwards and the backs to stand up to the test.
Richards’ solid defence is well known but Ribb now have two more very aggressive tacklers in Josh McFarlane and Johnny Moore.
The only sniff of a try in the first half came when Sharples on the right got round his man only to be called back for a foot in touch.
However the visitors were using their marginal advantage from the set pieces to make ground and Wood converted two more penalties to put his side 12-3 up at half time.
The second half was only five minutes old when Richards kicked his long-range penalty and although Ribb got penalised for obstruction at the kick off they were on top marginally for the rest of the game.
Brods’ scrum dominance diminished and Ribb, playing a better tactical kicking game, were able to spend more time in the opposition’s half.
Inevitably pressure brings penalties and after a line-out was mauled to the line Ribb were awarded a scrum.
Mick Carr fed Hayden Viles who went close before Speres burrowed over.
Ribb were a single point behind but they had put their stamp on proceedings.
Brods defended fiercely but could not contain Bolland who repeatedly beat two or three men.
Alex Naylor was freed on the left and only a desperate tackle kept him out.
Brods were now playing between their 22 and the halfway line, it’s a dangerous place to be.
The inevitable penalty was drilled into the corner, the impressive Thwaite collected and Ribb were over but held up.
From the scrum Carr again fed Viles and Bolland burst into the line to go over unopposed with Richards converting for an 18-12 lead.
Ribb held on for a good win against a big hard side with the only disappointment being the unfortunate injury to Speres who required 26 stitches in his ear.
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