North Ribblesdale 32

Ripon 26

by Andrew Mills

RIPON gave North Ribblesdale a late fright after clawing their way back into the game to finish six points adrift.

The game was played with a strong wind down the pitch. Ribb played with the wind and took an early lead but did not consolidate this and turned round at the break only 18-5 up.

Ripon were still in with a shout at half-time, but playing into the second half wind Ribb scored two early second half tries to put them 32-5 up.

The visitors looked a beaten side, but Ribb let them off the hook and sat on their lead.

Ripon came back strongly to finish the better side in the last 20 minutes, scoring three unanswered tries to get to six behind albeit the last try was on the stroke of time.

Ribb's problem is a lack of strength on the bench. The starting pack is very good but once second half substitutions are made the pack loses dominance, particularly in the scrum. This was evident in the last 20 minutes on Saturday, although Ribb were also without Matt Speres for a yellow card for ten minutes in the second half.

Ribb started well with Mick Thwaite kicking an early penalty, but almost from the kick-off weak tackling let Ripon score a good individual try from Davies. The conversion was missed.

Ripon have some elusive powerful runners who troubled the Ribb defence but could not get the breakthrough pass away.

Ribb roused themselves with some good running by Amari Kaup-Samuels. Both he and Freddie Howarth have the pace to trouble any defence and in a good spell both looked in good form.

However it was the forwards who got the first try with Ray Fromm forcing himself over for a converted try after 15 minutes. Ten minutes later he got his second to put Ribb 18-5 up after 35 minutes.

Ripon would have thought that 18-5 down at half-time with the strong wind in their favour was not insurmountable, but Ribb started the second half with a bang with both Jonny Moore and Speres making good ground in the centre.

Moore and Ryan Sumner, who is hard to stop from close range, scored two tries in quick succession. Both were converted by Thwaite to take the score to 32-5.

Ripon looked down and did not look as though they would score again, but Speres got ten minutes for a high tackle and front row substitutions meant that Ribb no longer had scrum dominance.

Ripon scored three tries in the last 20 minutes, one on the stroke of time to give them a bonus point

Ribb let a bonus point slip, but another win sees the North Craven side in fourth place in Yorkshire Division Two.

The line-out was solid all day with Will Booth in excellent form against a big Ripon pack, and Moore and Speres were strong in attack and defence.