Rugby Union: Three on spin in Yorkshire Two for fighting Ripon

Ripon RUFC's Kier Walker (Photo by Dave Naylor)
Ripon RUFC's Kier Walker (Photo by Dave Naylor)
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The momentum remains with Ripon Rugby club in the Yorkshire Two survival race after Ian Hassall’s side returned a third straight win on Saturday.

A determined performance by Ripon put Leodiensian to the sword 24-14 away from home.

Ripon have risen 11 points ahead in the relegation battle left to play following the best run of form in the last three seasons.

But the relegation fight remains undecided with rivals Roundhedians and Sheffield Medicals both also in the winner’s enclosure at the weekend.

Director of rugby Hassall said: “It’s always nice to get three on the bounce. It’s been a while since we have had that.

“There’s a nice feel at the club, a good positive atmosphere and we are driving in the right direction.”

Ripon had to win the hard way against Leos, though. Inside the first 20 minutes, the Blues found themselves 14 points down after twice being hit by quick counter-attacks by the hosts.

Undeterred, Ripon knuckled down and a 50-metre break by Joe Duffield led to Tom Leeming striding clear for their opening score, before he converted himself.

The first half closed with the hosts seven points ahead, but scrum-half James McDaniel soon helped Ripon level with a cheeky individual try, surprising Leos with a tap and go penalty.

Leeming converted to take his points tally to 45 for his first season at the club.

Ripon were dealt a blow when in-form fly-half George Foster was forced off with a fractured and dislocated shoulder.

However, the Mallorie Parkers stole victory in the final 15 minutes. Following a narrow Leeming penalty miss, McDaniel hoisted a box kick and Duffield streaked through the defenders to catch the ball over the line at full stretch to touch down.

On the win, Hassall added: “We have still got a long way to go and there are plenty of things to work on but I was pleased to walk away with a bonus point win.”

Foster is likely to miss the rest of the season with his shoulder injury, which Hassall admitted would be a big loss.

“He’s a young lad that has really found his feet at ten over the last few weeks,” he added.

“He will be a big miss. He’s a lad that plays heads up rugby and that’s what we are trying to get them all to do.”

Ripon are without a match this weekend, but with four matches left Hassall said his priority was to finish the season strongly to help the club’s recruitment drive over the summer.

Ripon are searching for a new player/coach to help out its pack, and Hassall also hopes to bring in new talent in the off-season.

He said: “We need to finish this season strongly. That would will bode well for us next year.

“If we’re playing well, it would put us on the radar for people looking for a new club in the summer.”