RIPON succeeded in stopping the rot with an impressive display against West Park Leeds to earn a hard-fought 16-16 draw which could prove the turning point to the club’s recent run of bad luck.
Coach Al Norrie admitted he was pleased with his team’s strong performance and hoped they could take the boost in confidence it had given into their upcoming Yorkshire Two fixtures.
“It stopped the rot of losing three games on the trot,” Norrie said. “If anything, the lads were slightly disappointed to only come away with only two points on Saturday, but at the end of the day, that’s still points on the board.”
“If we can get a bit of a run going, and maybe win three out of four games or even four out of four games, anything can happen.”
Ripon now move on to face West Leeds tomorrow (3pm) and Norrie is hoping that his side can take the boost they received from Saturday’s result into the next game.
“Confidence is quite high in the lads right now after the impressive showing on Saturday,” he said.
“West Leeds is never an easy place to go to, so it’s one we have to get on top of really and put in our best effort.”
Even though Ripon had plenty of chances to settle the match, especially in the first half, the visitors will probably feel hard done-by to come away with a draw.
The home team started brightly enough, going ahead in the eighth minute with a Patrick Whitaker penalty kick.
They didn’t hold the lead for long though and West Park made space in mid-field with a well-worked move which resulted in their centre crossing for a strong try.
Whitaker took the lead back for his team with two more penalties on 19 and 22 minutes which saw Ripon go into half time 9-5 up.
The second half opened with Ripon playing their best rugby of the match captilising eight minutes into the second stanza with a catch and a drive from a lineout followed by a quick ball for the backs that saw inside centre Spilman cross over by the posts for an excellent try.
Whitaker converted to make the score 16-5 and widen the gap further between the two sides.
West Park responded, stealing a Ripon lineout and their strong running winner shrugged off a couple of tackles to score a try wide out on the Ripon left.
With 15 minutes to play West Park advanced into Ripon’s half and piled on the pressure forcing Ripon to stray off-side in defence and concede two more penalties bringing the score level.
After a nail-biting last ten minutes that saw neither side able to break the deadlock, the game finished in a draw which will have frustrated both teams.
Ripon continued to display the strong scrummaging that has been a feature of their game all season, but showed considerably more spirit here than they have in recent weeks although their lineouts are still a cause for concern.
A lack of discipline at times, also continues to cause Ripon problems, costing them dearly in terms of yardage and attacking positions.
Norrie said: “We certainly played a lot better than we have recently, we were defensively a lot stronger.
“We just have to keep working on what we have been working on the last few weeks, making sure the defence is solid and that we are playing to our strengths and that we get everyone used to doing what they need to be doing.
“We have to make sure that we are playing in the right part of the pitch.”
He said that a few players that had been unavailable recently would be back tomorrow and that several players from the second and third teams were playing well enough to warrant consideration for the first team.
“There’s definitely some competition for places right now, there are young lads coming through all the time,” Norrie said.
He added that he had looked at the league in the last few weeks and realised that Ripon had already played a lot of the teams that lay in the league’s top spots.
“That means that the games that we have coming up are against a lot of teams sat near us in the league,” he said, “Those are the ones that we need to win now.”
RIPON HORNBLOWERS were also in action last Saturday losing away to West Park Leeds 12-20 with tries scored by Lister and Moss-Blundell and conversions by McAra.
Meanwhile RIPON WAKEMEN won at home to West Park Leeds 3rds 39-10 with two tries from Reece, two from Sykes, and one from Metcalfe, Humphries and Lawrence and two conversions scored by Aylward.
1sts v West Leeds, away, meet 12.45pm: Hooks, Bell, R Nicholson, Osborne, Spilman, A Potter, Going, Whitaker, Plant, Newcombe, Sadler, Coyne, Sullivan, Turner, Scott-Paul, J Potter, Lumb, Box.
2nds v Cleckheaton, home, 3pm: Shepherd, Magill, Moss-Blundell, S Nicholson, Stiddart, McAra, Rowntree, Roberts, Lamb, Howard, Ellis, Watson,Lister, M Nicholson, Foster, Nash.
3rds v Otley, home, 3pm: Campbell, Harris, Marsden, J Thompson, Frank, Brewster, Sykes, Humphries, Farrell, Albert, Montgomery, Aylward, Carsten, Williamson, Gath-Walker, Roome, Kite, Tyreman, Seldon, Rees, Metcalfe, C Lawrence, A Lawrence.