NORTH Ribblesdale welcomed Wath on Dearne for their home opener on Saturday after a narrow defeat the previous week away at Ripon.

Wath were at least two stone a man heavier in the pack and so were expected to be formidable opponents, and so it proved. Ribb started brightly and a Michael Thwaite penalty put them in front after five minutes, after this the Wath "Massive" took control and kept Ribb pinned back with an effective "Pick and go" tactic and retaining the ball very well. Huge second row Stu Hooper was driven over and classy outhalf Cook kicking the conversion and two penalties to give the visitors a 13- 3 interval lead.

As the second half wore on the big Wath forwards were blowing hard and three penalties from Thwaite and another from Cook leaving the score at 16 - 12 with 15 minutes to go. This Ribb team under the tutelage of "Tosh" Davidson are more tactically aware than recent seasons and sensed the visitors running out of steam.

Ribb kept the ball alive at every opportunity stretching the Wath defence several times and when a gap opened up, impressive scrum half Jack Mcleod scooted through and scampered 30 metres to the line for a cheeky try. Thwaite converted (of course) to give Ribb a 19 - 16 lead for the first time, another fine 40 metre penalty stretched the lead to 22 - 16 and Ribb confidently saw the game out for a deserved win.