Beverley 38 North Ribblesdale 23

NORTH Ribblesdale put up a spirited display against high-flying Beverley on Saturday but they did not have the firepower to trouble the home side, whose speedy backs allowed them to score at crucial times.

Their defeat means that they slipped to rock-bottom in Yorkshire Division One, and relegation looks almost inevitable at this stage.

On that novelty in recent weeks, a firm pitch, Ribb actually started the game on the front foot. They kept the ball for the first ten minutes and their pressure won a penalty, which Mick Thwaite converted.

However, from the kick off, Beverley won the ball and put it through their hands to work Luke Hazell over in the corner.

Mick Thwaite kicked a penalty for offside but Hazell scored his second soon after to leave the score at 12-6. Beverley then had a purple patch and scored two converted tries to get to half-time with a virtually unassailable 26-6 lead.

The scoreline was harsh on the Ribb pack who had competed well and won a lot of ball but Ribb's half backs just could not get the ball out wide.

Ribb dominated possession in the second period and were in the home half for most of this time. They had moved David Fox to scrum half and, given ball and space, he started to make things happen.

Winger Ryan Sumner had some freedom and he started to punch a few holes. With Matt Speres, who returned after a three week absence, also making good ground, Beverley were on the back foot.

John Padley and Speres both went over in quick succession to make the score 26-16 and it looked for a period that Ribb could get something out of the game.

However, Beverley turned again to their backs and they scored two fine long distance tries. Both were converted to make the score 38-16.

At the death, Speres scored his second. This was converted by Johnny Moore and the game finished 38-23 to the home side.

Despite the defeat, there were some encouraging individual performances. Padley was the deserved man of the match while Speres show how badly he has been missed in recent games.

Adam Middleton and Andy Thwaite also had good games but Ribb are facing the impossible now. They are six points from safety with only two games remaining.