U16s Battle On
By Mark Rees
U16s Battle On
Thank goodness that next Sunday is a free weekend as the U16s have a bye in the first round of the cup. A well earned and much needed rest is needed for some battered players.
Arriving at Richmond with one substitute, Ripon were missing a number of players in key positions. However it shows good strength in depth and versatility that the lads were able to fill in to unfamiliar positions and still play as well as they did.
With no Hamish this week, Dippy was asked to move to 9 and Oliver Williams moved into 10. Bertie stepped up to fill the gap at 15 and with neither Evan or Harry available, Titus put in a performance at 13. No Connor Stout this week either, so Edward started on the wing.
The game started competitively and the ball was moved through hands reasonably well, Ripon just making a few unforced errors.
A great day for the front 5 was kicked off with the ever improving Dylan Hudspeth crashing over for the first try, converted by Connor Eddleston. (0-7)
Then it could have all gone very wrong - three Ripon players (Oliver Williams, Harvey Toombes and Oliver Dickinson) went down injured in the space of 30 seconds just as the home team got possession from an interception. Richmondshire took their chance well and coasted in under the posts. (7-7)
Some frantic adjustments were required - Bertie came in at 9 leaving the wingers to cover the fullback space. Dippy slotted in at 10 and the pack played without an 8.
The remaining 13 Ripon players played the rest of the game with outstanding team work and commitment. The pack was dominant in the scrum and the loose. Cameron Gilchrist smashed his way over, notching one up for the front rowers before half time. (7-12)
The second half was a good all round display. Bob McKee ran in a good try converted by Connor (7-19). Connor then got a try of his own after a period of excellent support play and offloading from the team and made his own conversion easy by going under the posts. (7-26)
The front rowers were having a blinder and Michael Sorby put his name on the score sheet, a well deserved reward for all his hard work in attack and defence. Connor kept up the good work with the boot. (7-35)
Richmondshire had their own spate of injuries and the teams were evened up to 13 a side.
Bertie's delivery from the base of the ruck was crisp and allowed the backs to move the ball around, getting plenty of possession out to the wings. It was a good running line through the centre though that broke through the defence for Bob to get his second try. Connor converted again (7-40).
With the final whistle approaching the backs were released again and Titus Baker ran in a long distance try to close the game out. (7-45).
It's very encouraging to have versatile players that can adapt to different positions and be able to react to playing with men down.