North Ribblesdale 34 Wath-upon-Dearne 15
North Ribblesdale’s home-grown talent produced a performance which offers real promise for the future at Grove Park on Saturday.
They deserved all the plaudits they received after emerging from a tricky fixture with a comfortable win.
Ribb’s supporters looked at the massive Wath eight and could not see how their side could win.
But they did and it was due largely to a burst in the last 20 minutes in which Sam Boatwright scored two tries as Wath finished on the ropes.
Ribb’s success was under-pinned sheer guts and deter-mination. This was epito-mised by Andrew Thwaite in the second row and a young front row that never took a backward step.
Ribb kicked towards the clubhouse in the first half with the stiff breeze behind them.
The early signs weren’t too promising as they lost the first two line-outs.
It meant that Wath had a platform from which to hammer away at the Ribb midfield defence with their big forwards.
This tactic failed to produce the desired results because of the no-nonsense tackling of Jonny Moore and Josh McFarlane but it did give them a platform for Joe Bartlett to kick to the corners.
Ribb resisted a number of strong attacks before they conceded a penalty which Tom Swann converted to open the scoring.
The lead was extended when Wath took the ball from the kick off and kicked deep into Ribb territory.
When the home side were penalised the resulting kick was sent arcing into touch near the corner.
The line-out was won and prop James McCarthy was driven over for a try which Swann converted for a 10-0 lead.
It looked ominous for Ribb but, the pack started to win some possession and that put Wath on the back foot.
A powerful burst from Boatwright resulted in Wath being caught offside and young stand-off Michael Thwaite stepped up to slot over the penalty from the ten metre line .
Wath came back from the kick off and normal service was resumed with a penalty to the corner, but the maul was stopped by spirited Ribb defence.
The reprieve was brief. The ball was moved to midfield and mauled over from the ruck for an unconverted try by Matthew Burrows.
The next score was critical and it went Ribb’s way.
The light Ribb pack won scrum ball and that was just the platform Moore and McFarlane needed to take play into the visitors’ half.
A miss move from Thwaite brought the speedy Simon Bolland into the game as Ribb forced a scrum on the Wath 22.
The solid scrum gave Thwaite the room to put the powerful Moore over under the posts. Thwaite added the conversion.
At half-time Ribb’s supp-orters were still wondering if a win was possible. The players clearly believed they could now take the game to Wath.
Starting the second half well was important. Ribb’s plan was to expand the game and bring their potent back three into the game.
The turning point was a quick loose ball won by John Paddley and Nathan Dakin.
Thwaite moved the ball left David Fox went round his man and drew the full back before passing inside to Bolland who scored under the posts. Thwaite made no mistake with the conversion.
After Wath’s kick off did not make the ten metre line Ribb’s scrum secured the ball and this time Ryan Gill went clear.
When he was tackled Boatwright took the ball on and was brought down short.
When the ruck ball was presented to Thwaite he sent Boatwright powering over the line for a try.
Ribb were on the rampage. When Wath dropped out after touching down a specul-ative kick Boatwright seized the ball and burst over from 40 metres. Thwaite’s conver-sion completed the scoring.
in the last ten minutes Ryan Gill gave his opposite number a torrid time and would have scored if he hadn’t tried to pass inside unselfishly.
The chance was spurned as the ball was dropped. It was a small glitch on an afternoon when Ribb had so much to be proud of.
Ribb have no game this week,but there will be much interest in the second team prior to selection for the Keighley match on March 22.