Old Otliensians 20

North Ribblesdale 20

A LAST second penalty by Mick Thwaite saw North Ribblesdale secure a 20-20 draw at Old Otliensians on Saturday.

Playing into a very strong wind in the first half, Ribb did the first part pretty well, turning round in touch, their scrum was looking strong and they had line-out got parity.

There were some worrying signs of old fallibilities, as twice Ribb tried to kick the ball into the wind and were lucky not to be punished.

Ribb took the lead when Tom Frik scored a terrific try after the ball was worked out of the 22. Frik spurted away from the defence to score out wide. The difficult conversion was missed and Ribb were up 5-0.

They won the restart and set about keeping possession for as long as possible. They were successful until a long pass was blown back towards the 22.

When 'Ensians took possession, Ribb were penalised and fly half Will Cooper scored a dropped a goal during the advantage.

Ribb had a good spell after the kick off and worked Jonny Moore clear and scored out wide for a unconverted try to lead 10-3 after 30 minutes.

'Ensians did come back, working the ball out of defence for Connor Bateman to swat off two tentative tackles to score the first of his two tries.

Feeble tackling let Oliver Eaves in for a soft converted try just before half-time to put the score at 15-10 to 'Ensians.

While Ribb's weak wide out tackling did them no favours, being 15-10 down with a strong wind to come was acceptable.

Ribb's second half was a tactical disaster. They won enough ball to win the match but chose to try to scrummage over four times without result.

Ribb, even at this level are a small pack, and they have a very accurate goal kicker in Mick Thwaite who did the business with a pressure kick in the last minute.

But if they had kicked all the goals on offer, they would have drawn away from the opposition, but instead left 'Ensians clinging on to a lead which they defended tenaciously.

On top of this, Ribb made classic errors in the wind, trying to throw long passes, crashing the set piece ball up against a big strong pack.

Although Ribb took a 17-15 lead through a Ray Fromm converted try, the home back row either dispossessed them or forced penalties.

From one dispossession, Bateman scored his second try to put the home side 20-17 up.

Ribb, however, had 20 minutes to reply and with the pressure they were exerting it should have been enough.

Otliensians had a strong defence but they gave away a string of penalties. However, Ribb kept putting the ball in the corner trying to maul their way over.

There were five penalties in the last quarter, all within Thwaites reach any but only in the last second did Ribb go for goal to seal a draw.