Rugby Union: Mistakes cost downed Ripon

hsb  Ripon v West Park Leeds.   (121013M3b)
hsb Ripon v West Park Leeds. (121013M3b)

Ripon RUFC’s stay in Yorkshire Two ended in a high-scoring defeat on Saturday, but the club remain hopeful off-the-field issues could provide a stay of execution.

Richard Dixon’s relegated Blues put up a brave fight at ninth-placed Roundhegians but left the Leeds outfit without a point after losing 32-23.

It meant they finished the season second-bottom having picked up just seven victories in 26 contests this season.

But, as reported last week, the Blues are still waiting to hear the outcome of two league decisions that could alter the make-up of the table.

It has yet to be decided whether Middlesbrough-based outfit Acklam, who have been relegated from Yorkshire One, will move into Yorkshire Two or the Durham and Northumberland Two.

Should they move, the league may offer Ripon a reprieve. The Mallorie Park outfit are also waiting for confirmation of any sanctions handed to league rivals Knottingley.

“It’s not all over yet,” insisted first team manager Bob Champion.

Mistakes festered early on against Roundhegians and both teams capitalised on each other’s errors.

Firstly Roundhegians picked up a Ripon knock-on and chipped to the corner to score their first converted try.

Ripon were then awarded a penalty which was converted by Ashley Rio from 40 yards. 

From the restart Ripon secured the ball and attacked wide. Rio, after creating a decent space, put a chip through for Joe Duffield to follow up, Rio adding the conversion.

The Australian scored 13 points during the contest, to move his seasonal tally past the 160 mark.

Ripon’s second try came a few minutes after, when incisive running and slick handling put Rob Harrison in for a converted try between the posts.

But a concentration lapse then punished Ripon’s inventiveness. From the restart, Ripon attempted to break out of their 22, but the floated pass was intercepted and the home side scored their second converted try.

With Ripon just in the lead, Roundhegians got the better of the exchanges and added to their score-line to close the half in front at 23–20.

The second half became a scrappier affair and when the penalty count rose, the game fell into the hosts’ hands.

Ripon tried to end the game playing out of their skins, but Roundhegians defended well with a number of last man tackles. And after converting three more penalties, they finally drew away.

Champion said: “Luck simply wasn’t on our side.

“The second half was a rerun of the whole season. Each good phase of play was followed by a mistake.”