North Ribblesdale 9 Scarborough 3
An easing in the weather and hard work from the Grove Park groundstaff meant that the game – postponed from the previous week – could be played.
Scarborough had first use of the wind that had helped dry the pitch in to a playable condition although it did take a stud.
Neither side dominated any aspect of the play, nor the scoreboard. However, Ribb just about had the advantage in the scrum, taking a couple against the head, but both sides lost ball at the line-out due to the wind.
Ribb were forced to reorganise both the pack and backline due to the unavailability of a number of players.
This did result in a loss of attacking cohesion, but the defensive gusto that is starting to be a feature of the team, was again in evidence.
Indeed the small back row tackled well above their weight. Sam Boatwright enjoyed the contact situations and the back line was as watertight as ever.
Having said all this Scarborough, when they did arrive, turned up in no mood to yield either.
If you hadn’t been to the game and someone had told you that Ribb won by three kicks to one, with both defences on top on a soft pitch you might have thought that you hadn’t missed much.
But for those who really enjoy a game of rugby there was plenty to grab the attention.
Both teams, as committed to their defence as they were, were also determined ib trying to break down each other’s defence.
Both sets of forwards attempted to gain the dominance their back lines needed.
It was heartening that both sets of three quarters attempted to move the ball about and each showed good pace in the tricky conditions.
Both fly halves looked for territory whenever they could but the respective defences held firm.
Using the wind, Scarborough had territorial advantage in the first half and after five minutes were awarded a penalty which hit the upright and was fielded by John Moore who started the back line moving to run the ball back towards halfway.
Ribb retained possession and played with enough intensity for the next few minutes to earn a penalty 35 metres out.
Jonathan Richards sent the ball sailing between the posts to establish a 3-0 lead.
On the quarter hour Ribb were caught with their hands in the ruck in their own half and the Scarborough fly half made no mistake with the penalty to level the scores.
Scarborough caused a moment of panic when they hacked the ball to win five-yards of the line before North Ribb snuffed out the danger by forcing a turnover.
Both sides had a player sin binned as play continued to be close fought.
North Ribblesdale had a couple of penalties which they might have landed in better conditions while their rivals were down to 14 men.
Good kicking by Richards and Josh McFarlane put pressure on the Scarborough line but a dogged defence and a couple of dropped passes allowed the visits to escape without giving away a try.
The pressure did result in Ribb being awarded two penalties which Richards landed to seal his team’s hard-earned win.
This Saturday Ribb visit third-placed Doncaster Phoenix.