Ripon Under 18s away at Baildon by Simon Lovel
By Jay Chester-Bristow
Total domination brings in the New Year as Ripon U18’s devastate Baildon
Ripon U18 Girls were hosted by Baildon for their first fixture of 2018. Being a few players short and having had an extended break over Christmas it was poised to be an interesting match with Baildon an unknown quantity with a full squad of players available. Kindly they lent two plays to balance the sides and the game was played 12 aside on a dry and sunny winter’s afternoon.
From the kick off Ripon stated their intentions with the forwards quickly securing the ball and spinning it out to the backs, with quick hands by Kathryn Barrett passed to Lauren Corbett who attacked with blistering pace from her own 10m line, running around the advancing defence to score under the posts which gave Abi Lovel a straight forward conversion to settle her in. Two minutes gone Ripon were 0-7 up. Baildon came back strongly and after a period of possessions managed to break through a determined defence by a deft off load whilst being tackled to run in a try from the Ripon 22 a successful conversion brought the scores level with only 9 minutes gone.
With regained confidence Baildon seized the initiative and quickly scored again 3 minutes later to score a try in the corner 12 minutes gone and the score was 12-7 and the game looked to be in the balance.
From a high kick off Ripon managed to put Baildon under pressure by some great counter rucking by Holly Topping, Nicole Webster and Alisha Mawer set up a solid platform 8m out from the Baildon try line Quick hands from the scrum half to Helen Elsworth charging through on the crash ball was unstoppable and any doubts about Ripon being out of the game were quickly removed kicking from near the touch line Abi missed the conversion despite hitting the post from the conversion 15mins in and the scores were level 12 apiece. For the next 10mins the game was fought with a high level of intensity from both sides attacking and defending strong tackling from the Ripon side with quick line speed marshalled by Alice Mann unsettled the Baildon attacks whilst building the confidence of the visitors. From a scrum 10m in to the Baildon half Alice made a decisive run breaking the game line to set up a ruck within the Baildon 22 where the forwards drove the ball closer to the try line with Abi able to break through a crowded defence to score off the back of a ruck but with the score now 12-17 Ripon were very much in the ascendancy.
Baildon restarted the game with a high kick into the sun which unfortunately for them was plucked out of the air above her head by Ripon outside centre Lauren Corbett who set the turf on fire speeding around the advancing Baildon players to run in under the posts from her own 10 m line. With a straight forward kick Abi added to the try to bring the score to 12-24. This was quickly added to by another try from defence with Kathryn capitalising on a good clean ball from the forwards and ran through the defence to pop the ball to Emily Cooper who ran outside the winger and covering defence and ran the full length of the pitch to score under the posts which Abi converted.
Half time brought a welcome break from an intense first half. Baildon 12 Ripon 31
From the kick off Baildon attacked with renewed vigour and Ripon had to dig deep and make their tackles count, none more so than the wingers Maddy Wright and Emily whose resolute defence and bone crunching commitment kept Baildon from seizing the initiative. It was from one of these tackles that Holly supported by Nicole, Alisha and Helen managed to counter ruck and win procession. With a quick look up Abi saw a narrow gap in a reorganising defence and took the initiative to score a sniping run through from the 22 to open up the scoring 8 minutes into the second half the score was now 12-36. To Baildon’s credit they did not give up and continued to battle bravely with full commitment resulting in a few knocks and bangs resulting in the Ripon skipper retiring from the game for a while however having a wide score margin it was Ripon who scored again with Abi making another opportunistic run from the back of a ruck from the Baildon 22 to score her hatrick which she then converted. Score 12-43
With Alice off and all credit to Baildon they secured possession and pushed Ripon back to their own 22 for a sustained period of time until after 8 minutes of pressure the Ripon defence was breached by a cutting run from the Baildon inside centre to score an unconverted try score 17-43
With the final few minutes remaining Ripon sealed the match off. Emily ran in her second try after the forwards drove the ball towards the 22 where from the back of the ruck Abi distributed the ball to Alice who broke on the blind side passing to Emily who used her pace to run outside her opposite number to score a classic wingers try. Abi converted the try to bring the score to 17-50. In the dying minutes Kathryn ran a great line and broke the defeated defence to score under the posts which again Abi stepped up and converted.
Final score Baildon 17 Ripon 57
This match was dominated by Ripon girls who individually all played a blinder but as a team they were unstoppable. The four Ripon forwards Holly, Nicole, Alisha and Helen dominated their opposition securing possession and driving Baildon off the ball with some fantastic counter rucking. With possession the Ripon backs are a force to be reckoned with, devastating pace from Abi, Alice, Kathryn, Lauren, Emily and Maddy make a dominant strike force. As a team the grit, determination, and bravery in defence is proving to be a difficult line to breach and the Ripon U18 side is growing in confidence after scoring tries against Castleford and defeating West Park it bodes well for the future. A great match played in the proper spirit of the game well done Ripon and thank you to Baildon for being great hosts and for lending some of your players
Lauren Corbett 2
Emily Cooper 2
Kathryn Barrett 1
Helen Elsworth 1
Abi Lovel 3
Abi Lovel 6