By Mark Rees
Another beautiful Sunday and another entertaining fixture away at Acklam.
It wasn't just the sun that shone this morning - the players did too.
With a number of players unavailable this week Ripon travelled with just 18 - Unfortunately three of them are injured and just came to support so it was just the bare 15 again this week.
It was great to see Harry Fern in a Ripon shirt again, coming back to the team after a nasty injury last year. Any concerns he had must now be forgotten as he put in some big tackles and crossed the line for two good tries.
The game started with Acklam securing their own kick off and applying a lot of pressure in the Ripon 22 for quite some time. Solid defence kept the attackers out and eventually a break out resulted in a Connor Stout try, converted by Oliver Williams (0-7).
Dippy settling in to his new position at fly half made some lovely breaks and was next to score from an evasive run Ollie converted again (0-14). The scoring then alternated between the two teams. Acklam made it 5-14 before Harry got his first try (5-19), Acklam responded (10-19), then one of a few scything runs from Harvey Toombes, showing strength and pace resulted in another Ripon score, with Harvey going under the posts making the Oliver Williams extra two points a formality. (10-26)
Acklam hit back again though (15-26).
Ollie took a knock and left the field with a 'dead leg', leaving Ripon down to 14 and the back line having to cover.
Despite this, Dylan Hudspeth was next to score for Ripon with a powerful drive from a tap penalty - showing his strength and determination to crash through the defence. (15-31)
The home team responded yet again though (20 -31), the conversion was missed but the ball was returned to the field of play by what would have been an excellent kick from the Ripon linesman, if only it wasn't for that strangely slippy part of the in goal area, causing the kick to be sliced. (the crowd were harsh).
Ripon were soon back on the score sheet again though with a well deserved Connor Eddleston try, good reward for his tireless efforts in the loose.(20-36)
Credit to Acklam they were not going to give up and managed another try of their own in response. (25-36)
Ripon saw the game out though with Harry Fern crossing for his second (25-41)
A very competitive game, played in good spirits by both teams.
The Ripon squad is building a great team mentality and positive attitude - very good to see.