A LATE Mick Thwaite penalty saw North Ribblesdale salvage a 16-16 draw with Wath Upon Dearne at Grove Park on Saturday.

Despite missing the talismanic John Padley and the rock of their scrum John Thwaite, Ribb battled to keep in touch in the first half against a strong wind.

The home team dominated play in the second half but a defensive lapse allowed the Wath left winger to score from within his half and take a 16-13 lead with five minutes to go.

Ribb responded with a attack from the kick-off, which won a penalty just outside the 22.

There was some debate about going for the win or settling for a draw, but they chose the pragmatic option and Mick Thwaite nervelessly put the ball through the posts to secure two points.

The conditions were not conducive to open rugby, as a strong wind up the pitch meant expansive handling was out of the question.

Wath took the lead after Jack Whitlam kicked a penalty on 15 minutes, followed by another ten minutes later.

Wath's territorial advantage meant they spent most of the first half in Ribb territory so only six points down after 25 minutes was not a bad return for Ribb.

It got better after Mick Thwaite got a penalty for offside after a stirring burst by Ryan Sumner.

Wath kicked off long and forced Ribb into the 22, and from a mauled line-out Wath prop McCarthy burst over for an unconverted try just before half-time to make it 11-6 at the break.

Ribb started the second half well. They kicked deep and kept Wath on the back foot and Their scrum allowed Sumner to make some penetrative bursts.

However, Ribb's try came from an interception by Eddie Bradley, who made 30 yards showing a good burst of pace.

Two quick passes gave Omari Kaup-Samuels space to go over, and Mick Thwaite added the conversion.

Wath hit back when left winger Ben Keen charged down a weak kick, seized the ball, beat two tacklers and surged over in the corner for an unconverted try to put Wath three points up with five minutes left.

Wath won the kick-off and prepared to keep the ball to lock Ribb out, but they lost the ball forward and from the scrum Mick Carr handed on to Sumner, whose burst to the edge of the 22.

Wath were penalised for offside and Ribb chose to kick for goal and a settled for 16-16 draw and two points.