Late flurry falls short as Ripon lose six on spin

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Ripon must disrupt the free spirited running game of Leeds Medics and Dentists if they are to end a run of six matches without victory, according to first team manager Bob Champion.

Despite a greater positive feeling around Mallorie Park, Ripon have lost their last six matches and sit fourth bottom in Yorkshire Two.

The Blues came close to victory again on Saturday in an edgy tie at home to Knottingley but were left cursing a slow start following the 19-18 defeat.

Champion said Ripon would be at strength to play the Leeds students at Weetwood on Saturday. And with the hosts lying one place under them, Ripon know the importance of ending their baron run.

It is the first season the Medics and Dentists have featured in Yorkshire Two and they have struggled to make their mark, with only two victories so far.

Champion said the youngsters will present a similar test as bottom side Sheffield Medicals. “They will be young, fit and looking to throw the ball around from anywhere,” he said. “We will have to be emphatic about winning our own ball and not letting them play.

“We are keen to get the basics right and not be too fancy. Maybe that’s where we are a little too susceptible to other teams taking advantage.”

The narrowest of margins decided the tie against Knottingley as Ripon seized on the visitors’ ill-discipline to hit back in the second half, only to fall agonisingly short. The away men scored two tries in the first half to open out an 11-point lead, with only Bob Whitaker’s penalty on the board for Ripon.

Whitaker knocked over an early second-half penalty but it was cancelled out by an unconverted try from Knotts.

Following two sin-bins for the visitors, Ripon opened up gaps in the final ten minutes, and South African Joe Mpyana went on a characteristic blistering run to score in the corner, unconverted.

Ripon then closed the gap to one with minutes remaining when lock Iain Barker powered over and Whitaker converted. But the late flurry was not enough. Champion added: “We have won the second half of the last three games. It’s just a matter of applying that in the first.”