Missed conversion gifts Ripon much-needed win

hsb  Ripon v Baildon. Number 15.  (140118M3e)
hsb Ripon v Baildon. Number 15. (140118M3e)

Ripon restored pride and survival hope after edging relegation rivals Moortown 20-18 on home soil on Saturday.

Lady luck shone on the Mallorie Park outfit, as visiting Moortown missed a last-ditch conversion attempt to share the spoils.

But despite claiming only their second win in eight matches, Ripon’s second-half defensive lapses could come back to haunt when the season closes.

The narrow win allowed visiting Moortown to pick up a valuable bonus point and retain a 12-point cushion directly above Richard Dixon’s men with just five matches of the campaign to go.

Ripon’s woes in the Yorkshire Two relegation race were also hit as fellow strugglers Knottingley and Old Rishworthians stole unexpected victories.

Moortown came out of the blocks quicker at Mallorie Park.

And, despite the hosts repelling a five metre scrum, the North Leeds outfit slotted over a penalty to take the lead.

Ripon responded on the 20 minute mark with a quickly taken penalty which saw Adam Newcombe support at pace to score their first try. Ashlet Rio was successful with the conversion.

Moortown added a further penalty goal to close the gap before Rio smacked two more between the posts to reassert Ripon’s lead.

And the Australian full-back then took his first-half points tally to 15 as he sprinted over after quick handling through the backs.

But, with Ripon 20-6 up at the interval, Moortown fought back .

An audacious chip and chase by the visiting blind-side flanker put the Ripon defence in disarray as they away men rattled in a converted try.

Try as they may, Ripon couldn’t finish off any plays successfully.

And it was the visitors who intensified the pressure towards the closing stages narrow the gap further.

In the dying seconds Moortown’s efforts were rewarded with another try, but they failed to share the spoils just avoided the draw by missing the conversion attempt.

First team manager Bob Champion said the win showed Ripon were capable of taking scoring opportunities to earn victories.

He said: “Ripon played with courage and determination, but again it was their inability to shut a game down, that allowed Moortown to within a sniff of a draw.

“Weak tackling and ineffective finishing by the home team were punished by Moortown, who took every opportunity to threaten and compete in every phase of the game.

This week, Ripon host Leodiensians in the rearranged clash from two weeks ago.

“A bit more consistent effort now from everyone in the squad can help us avoid the drop,” Champion added.