North Ribblesdale lack cutting edge as they bow out of Yorkshire Shield

North Ribblesdale prop Luke Mellin is tackled

The ball goes loose at a line out

Steve Burn reaches out to score Ilkley's third try

First published in Sport by

Ilkley 26 North Ribblesdale 0

 he mood in the North Ribblesdale dressing room was pensive after a match where they had more of the ball and territory yet lost by a large score, Their cause wasn’t helped by the absence of outstanding players Steven Moon, Simon Bolland and John Thwaite, but that doesn’t fully excuse their total lack of pene- tration.

Despite turning the home defence on several occasions, Ribb simply could not score.

They had at least four kickable penalties in the second half which they would have taken in a league match, but at 19-0 down at half time they had to run them all.

There was nothing wrong with Ribb’s tactical game. Michael Thwaite kicked sensibly and they played well in the first half against the strong wind.

Ribb spent a lot of time in the Ilkley half, but couldn’t produce a single score.

The wet conditions did not suit Ribb, but the home pack certainly revelled in them.

Ilkley’s number eight Stuart Brewer scored two tries from line-outs after stand-off Josh Kimber had kicked for the corner.

Ilkley also scored a well-worked try from lock Steve Burns on the stroke of half time. Kimber was successful with two of the conversions.

Ribb had the wind and rain at their backs in the second half.

They used the conditions to create a lot of pressure, but for the second time this season they failed to score a point against an Ilkley team they have held the Indian sign over in recent years.

On one of the rare occasions that Ilkley visited the Ribb half, their flanker Gus Ramsay scored after a drive from a line-out. Kimber again converted.

There were spirited runs from skipper Jonathan Richards, Ryan Gill and Matt Speres but the Ilkley defence stood firm.

Ribb’s backs tended to play too laterally while the makeshift front five were unable to give them the ball-carrying support they needed because they were tired from holding the big Ilkley pack .

There were plusses from Ribb. Young scrum half Peter Cook made one searing break in the first half, while Ryan Gill showed touches of class. Luke Mellin battled away in the unfamiliar tighthead position up against one of the best props in the league. Josh McFarlane had another good game at full back.

The recent weather conditions have proved a real dampener for Ribb. They do not have the bulk to compete with the bigger packs in muddy conditions.

It is simply not an option to run the opposition around.

Ribb face another tough game on Saturday when they host Yorkshire One leaders Dinnington and the weather conditions aren’t forecast to

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