Ripon seek third win on spin against Hyde’s Leos

hsb  Ripon v Sutton Coldfield.  (130330M3f)
hsb Ripon v Sutton Coldfield. (130330M3f)
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Ripon’s return to form in Yorkshire Two continued with Saturday’s 21-3 victory over a dominant West Park Leeds.

Coach Richard Dixon is now seeking a third on the spin away at fifth-placed Leodiensians this weekend, now coached by former Leeds Carnegie and Otley star Dan Hyde (3pm).

Dixon is predicting a tough encounter in which Ripon can do themselves justice as they bid to pull clear of the bottom two, providing they stick to their mantra of defence and discipline.

“Everyone’s well aware of the changes Leos have made this season and bringing Dan Hyde in has made a big difference,” he said.

“I think he’ll do well in Yorkshire Two providing the players buy into it. We’ll train hard for it and look to maintain our theme of continuous improvement.

“We certainly won’t be afraid of Leos.”

Captain and n umber eight Adam Scott-Paul should return from injury on Saturday, but Jim Potter serves the last of his four-match ban this weekend. Dixon expects to pick from strength.

“It should be a pretty similar side to last week which is of course a huge help,” he said.

“I’m confident we can do ourselves justice, providing we concentrate on the two themes of defence and discipline.

“We haven’t conceded a try in our last two games, and I’m very pleased with that.”

In front of a large home crowd on Saturday, Ripon dominated, stifling any hopes West Park Leeds had of coming away with a win.

For the second week in a row, Ripon prevented their opposition from scoring any tries.

Critical to Ripon’s success were centre partners Mark Spilman and Ken Davey, who battered the opposition with fierce tackles.

Young Elliot Oates put in a Man of the Match display with a fine lineout performance as well as in loose play.

Fly half Ashley Rio controlled the game from half back for a personal tally of 16 points with three penalty goals, a conversion and a try at the end of the game.

Nil-nil at half-time, Ripon worked on improving their lineout, and once it got functioning, they built a platform from which they punished West Park.

Forcing the visitors into defensive errors within ten minutes of the restart, Rio had knocked over two penalty goals.

This was followed up with a try from centre Davey, converted by Rio. West Park came back into the game with three points from a penalty, but Ripon stepped up the pressure.

A fast paced break up the left wing by Ben James saw some inter-passing between the backs to set up Rio for a dive over in the corner for his first try for the club.

He missed the conversion, but by this time the score was beyond return and Ripon finished comfortable winners.

“It was fairly tight but we knew if we got the lineout straightened out and held on to the ball the opportunities would come,” said Dixon.

“Elliott won a lot of possession from the lineout and from there we had the beating of them in the backs.

“There’s been a large well of belief in the squad that this performance would come and it was good to see it come in front of the biggest home crowd of the season.

“Ashley Rio is a great team player, and has been threatening a display like that for two weeks. He had his best game in a Ripon shirt.”

Ripon’s other two games against West Park Leeds fared less well, with depleted sides and unexpected availability of key players.

The second team lost 65-7 away and the third team lost 5-38 at home.