Yorkshire Two: ‘Critical’ win eases Ripon rugby drop fears

Ripon rugby club's Euan Findlay against Leeds Medics and Dentists
Ripon rugby club's Euan Findlay against Leeds Medics and Dentists

Ripon rugby club gave their survival hopes a major boost with their first back-to-back victory of the season on Saturday.

For the second week running, Ripon won a low-scoring contest with the scoreline 8-5 as they edged fellow relegation contenders Leeds Medics and Dentists.

South African powerhouse Dud Stead scored the all-important try midway through the second half, while Tom Leeming slotted over a first half penalty.

The Leeds students scored their only try in between Ripon’s scores, when both Stead and Rob Nicholson were in the sin-bin for infringements.

Nicholson was later red-carded with five minutes remaining after a clash.

The victory took Ripon five points clear of the drop zone, with Sheffield Medicals the one team between the Blues and bottom of the table Leeds.

First team manager Bob Champion said: “It was a critical. Any win is critical because we are teetering above the relegation zone.

“We knew we absolutely needed to win, the only disappointing thing was that we didn’t win emphatically enough to prevent Leeds getting a bonus point. That’s one thing we are going to have to work on.”

Champion hailed the performance of stalwarts Rob Lamb and centre Mark Spillman for setting the example.

The Blues manager also labelled flying winger Leeming, formerly of Ripon City and captain at Ripon Cricket Club an “interesting prospect” with “great vision, pace and confidence”.

Ripon still have one more fixture against the struggling Leeds side, on February 28. However, this weekend promotion candidates Bradford Salem will provide an all different opposition.

Salem have not lost a league match this season, and are top of the table by four points.

However, Ripon can draw confidence from the side’s only other meeting this season when only three points separated the pair in a 35-32 defeat at Mallorie Park.

Champion said the Blues are targeting a losing bonus point from the fixture.

He added: “We would be happy to hold them. We realise beating them is going to be a tall order but we are going with a positive attitude.”

The Blues will have to do without Nicholson who will begin his suspension. It has left Ripon with a player shorttage in the pack.

“We are really looking to the wide reaches to try and find people that are eligible to play.”

Squad to face Salem: Duffield; Buckley; Harrison; Spilman; Leeming; Newby; Whitaker; Rowntree; Stead; Findlay E; Cassidy; Nicholson; Williamson; Scott-Paul; Brittan ;Newcombe; Brewster; Yates.