With a number of players unavailable this week, including three front row, unfortunately we had to play uncontested scrums (apologies to Middlesborough).
The first half saw the very impressive Ripon back line moving the ball well. Dippy playing at 10 for the first time looked a natural, distributing well and with a few sniping runs and cheeky little kicks had a great game. The backs outside him had plenty of ball and used it well. Connor Stout crossed over on the left wing for the first score and Evan Rees broke through the centre to score the second, converted by Oliver Williams (12-0). Great play from both sides resulted in a very evenly matched contest. Right at the end of the first half Evan was brought down just short of the line and suffered a leg injury ending his game. Due to the lack of player availability, this meant that Ripon played the entire second half with 14 players. With an extra man and due to an emergency re-shuffle of positions, Middlesborough came back straight away with two early tries to level the game (12-12). Just when it looked like the visitors were going to run riot, excellent player attitude and commitment from the 14 remaining Ripon players resulted in Bob McKee powering over to restore the Ripon lead and yet again Oliver Williams made what turned out to be a very important conversion. (19-12) Middlesborough responded quickly again but missed the conversion (19-17). An outstanding team effort by Ripon kept the pressure on and the reward was a couple of penalties both slotted by the trusty boot of Oliver Williams (25-17). With tired legs and a man down the gaps began to appear and the visitors made it a one point game by scoring another converted try. (25-24) Desperate defence from Ripon in the last few minutes kept out the attackers and they held on to the narrow lead to finish the game. A very entertaining game to watch - brilliant attitude from the boys. Thanks to Middlesborough and we look forward to playing the return fixture with contested scrums and a full team.
Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.