Medics give Ripon sore feeling heading into Christmas break

Ripon RUFC in action photo by Dave Naylor
Ripon RUFC in action photo by Dave Naylor

Any thoughts of Ripon RUFC stringing two wins together before going into a well-deserved seasonal break were dashed at Norton Playing Fields on Saturday, by a spirited Sheffield Medicals side.

Heading into the game off the back of their best victory of the season last week, Ripon were beaten 29-3 against the side directly below them.

Ripon started strongly and pressed from kick off to keep the students in their own 22 for the first five minutes.

The Ripon forwards played with aggression and structure, by sustaining momentum with short order passing and picking and driving.

The pressure soon told with Terry Crisp, standing in at fly half, gifted a penalty opportunity, which he floated over with all the aplomb of predecessor Bob Whitaker.

From the next restart, Ripon pressed adventurously again, but met robust defence and never looked like breaking through again for several minutes.

On many occasions, Ripon used their possession well initially, but weren’t quite able to penetrate the defence, or simply took the wrong option by carrying too far and not exploiting overlaps.

This led to the frustration of two clear scoring opportunities going begging. The Medics on the other hand, looked lively and countered with pace and tenacity.

Ironically also, with a clearly lighter pack, the student scrum snuffed out any advantage Ripon might have had in that department and disrupted pretty much every Ripon put in.

After the first ten minutes, it all became a bit fast and furious, with play going from end to end but there were no scoring chances either way through unforced errors.

The Medics put a stop to that on 25 minutes. Having pressed Ripon with a probing kick, they scored a converted try with an effective catch and drive.

The final score of the half then went to Medics with a well struck penalty at the whistle.

The second half saw Ripon pretty much taken to task in all departments, with the Medics scoring a further three tries and two conversions to give than an all-important bonus point victory.

First team manager Bob Champion said: “Playing his first full game at first 15, flanker Charlie Yates was influential for most of the game and showed great maturity and spirit.

“As did the Findlay brothers, graciously playing out of position on opposite wings.

“But a clear message has to go out to those senior players who pick and choose where they play and in what position that it has to be all about the team and not the individual.”

Despite the win, the students stayed below Ripon in Yorkshire Two heading into the Christmas break.

Champion said: “Ripon will definitely need to dig deep to improve on the current situation and get the club out of the relegation zone.

“Consistency and commitment must be the buzz words for the next phase, with hopes pinned on making the most of who is available to play for the squad and who wants to see Ripon return to winning ways.”