North Ribblesdale 7

Wetherby 22

THIS scoreline flattered North Ribblesdale who were made a poor fist of playing tactical rugby in the wind and heavy rain at Grove Park on Saturday.

These conditions would normally favour Ribb, and although they matched the big Wetherby pack in scrum and line-out they were out thought and outmuscled in the loose with Wetherby's No 8 dominating in both attack and defence.

Ribb played into the strong wind and in the first ten minutes had their best spell of the game, being denied a try by what appeared to be a no arms tackle.

After the first ten minutes, they were up against it as Wetherby matched them up front and returned Ribb's speculative kicks into the wind, gaining a lot of ground.

Ribb persisted in kicking into the wind and were soon punished when a loose kick penned Ribb into the corner and a good drive by Wetherby got them over in the corner for a converted try.

The Settle side did not learn the lesson of not kicking into the wind and as a result were soon penned in their own 22.

They held out but conceded a converted penalty and were trailing 10-0 after 20 minutes.

Ribb continued to kick the ball away and concede a further converted try, trailing 17-0 just before half-time.

There was worse to come, as a defensive mix up saw Wetherby get over in the corner for an unconverted try to give Wetherby a 22-0 half-time lead.

Ribb had the strong wind at their back, but for some reason refused to use the wind to kick deep and a lot of the play was around the halfway line.

The home side was also given a lesson in control by Wetherby's No 8, as the visitors played the second half into the wind but seldom let the ball into the backs and monopolised possession for long periods.

It did not matter that Wetherby did not get into the Ribb 22, as they had a 22-point cushion and were happy to keep the ball tight and retain possession.

Ribb had possession but would not use the strong wind, only kicking when they got into the 22, when they should have kept the ball.

Ryan Sumner did get a try from a powerful burst converted by Mick Thwaite, but it was too little too late and Wetherby ran out easy winners.

Ribb missed an opportunity to put more space between them and the bottom two. It is hoped they do not come to regret it.