1st XV Match Report - Saturday 6th April
By Becky Naylor
MATCH REPORT by PETE TAYLOR
After last week’s outstanding win at home v Northallerton the trip to 5th placed Old Grovians was again a must win game in avoiding relegation. As has been that case for the whole season Ripon were unable to keep anywhere near the same side and had to make 5 changes with Pritchard, Newby, May, Leeming and Spillman all unavailable. This allowed the return of skipper Iain Barker, with Even Rees, Ben Taylor and Ben Buckley in the backs and Jordan Payne on the replacements bench.
Having 6 lads in the squad from the u18s is testament to the great work that the junior section does at the Club and on Saturday a total of 13 players across the 3 teams were u18. Yes, 3 men’s teams on Saturday and the Ladies on Sunday – with all 4 teams winning. A great weekend for the Club. Worthy of mention was the amount of support that Ripon had, massive thanks to all that travelled to Old Grovians as it really does make a difference.
So, onto the game, and what a game it was, 5 tries to 3 with the lead changing teams 6 times. Grovians took an early lead through a penalty but Ripon bounced straight back with an individual half way line try from Matty Taylor, converted by Ollie Williams, 7-3 to Ripon.
After conceding a soft try and penalty for each team the score moved onto 10-11. After massive pressure from the Ripon pack and a great break by Euan Findlay it was a second try for Ripon this time from Will Smith, converted by Williams making it 17-11 in favour of Ripon.
It wasn’t going to be easy as Old Grovians bounced back with a try and penalty before half time making the score 17-19. Half time as usual allowed for the Ripon side to take stock and it was obviously going to be a tense second half. Penalties were exchanged making it 20-22 and then the turning point came as Ripon started to pick up the pace whilst the Old Grovians side started to tire, 2 quick penalties from Williams and the score was 26-22 in Ripon’s favour.
Ted Wainwright scored next and the conversion gave Ripon a little breathing space at 33-22. After another penalty to Old Grovians making it 33-25 it was the quick thinking of Rob Nicholson that sealed the win with a try to ensure the bonus point for 4 tries. 38-25 and the game was won, Old Grovians scored a try with the last play making the final score 38-30.
A massive victory on the road and too many great performances to single out a man of the match. Selection will be tough this week as the squad prepare for the visit of West Park Leeds to Mallorie Park for the last game of the season and with both teams needing to win to be certain of avoiding relegation it is set to be a great game. 3pm KO and all support will be hugely appreciated.