Ripon 1xv
Sat 06 Apr 2024  ·  Counties 2 Yorkshire
Ripon Rugby Union Football Club
Ripon 1xv
North Ribblesdale
Ripon vs North Ribblesdale - Saturday 6th April

Ripon vs North Ribblesdale - Saturday 6th April

Becky Naylor9 Apr - 10:31
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Ripon’s season ended with a bump as The Blues came second best to a well-drilled North Ribblesdale side, who through their four try bonus point victory, became league champions and secured automatic promotion to Yorkshire Division One.

On a superb day for local Rugby, Ripon entertained three teams from Settle and provided games for over 120 players, replacements and supporting staff, as well as a crowd of spectators approaching five hundred, many of whom had enjoyed the pre-match hospitality lunch and so were in good spirits and loud of voice. Whilst there was a stiffening breeze throughout, the weather remained largely fine and mild and the tremendous efforts of the ground crew and many volunteers, made the playing surfaces of three pitches the best they could after days of heavy rain. Much attention had been paid to preparation for the game on and off the pitch, with strong commitment to training from squad members, many casual players being brought out of retirement to make up the numbers and even a shanty bar area erected to cater for the hydration of the crowds.

With over two weeks passing since their last outing, Ripon showed no signs of “ring-rustiness” and whilst the team changes were into double figures due to unavailability of a few, training in readiness for the encounter provided a fit and fit for purpose squad. This week’s selection saw three positional changes, with Bray drop to Full Back and add yet another eleven points to his impressive tally; Newcombe to start at Tight Head and bring his vast experience to the tight play and Dalby reserved to the bench as an impact player. Recalls were in order for Thompson and Marston to rekindle their successful half back relationship and Perez and Roebuck rejoined the squad after a week off each and swapped places in second and back rows respectively. Tom Austin joined the bench as another finisher for the forwards. Two notable debuts for the final game of the league season, saw “Flying Fijian” Aborosio “Abo” Sovatabua, join the ranks of this year’s South Sea signings and a memorable moment for Charlie Borchard to graduate from age grade Rugby and follow his father’s footsteps into the adult squad.

In the first half, Ripon took the lead 3 – 0 from a Bray penalty goal, which was quickly countered by a “Ribb” unconverted try. Some intense exchanges saw both sides benefit from the run of play and no particular dominance either way. Another Bray penalty goal took The Blues in front for the second time and a further within a few minutes extended Ripon’s lead to 9 – 5. Not to be outdone, “Ribb” put together some cohesive moves to retake the lead 9 – 12 with a converted try Ripon before the break.

The second half saw some deeper intrusions into the danger zone and “Abo” linking well to cut some fine lines, which saw his Centre partner Will Barrett score Ripon’s one and only try. Bray’s conversion reaffirmed his kicking prowess for Ripon to regain the lead for the third time at 16 – 12. That was where the hosts’ fortune ran out and gradually the visitors ground down the famous Mallorie Park “Blue Wall” and ran in a further converted try for 16 – 19. Responding manfully, Ripon made the last quarter as difficult as they could for their opponents, but “Ribb” showed their class in the dying moment with their fourth and bonus point winning converted try to take the score to 16 – 26. In Ripon’s favour were teamwork and energy but they just couldn’t master the visitors’ defence. Credit to the opposition, they seized opportunities as they arose and capitalized on mistakes better.

The final whistle blew with the visitors on top and so Ripon’s hopes of a win were dashed and lost was the desired third-place finish, in what has been The Blues’ most successful league season in at least a decade. As the other results of the day’s activities flowed in, it was soon apparent that Ripon were to finish this campaign in fourth place. No disgrace my any means and again, testament to the commitment and tenacity of this group of players and their coaches and loyal supporters. Whilst aiming to finish on a high point, Ripon can take some considerable comfort from finishing in such an elevated position and boasting a playing strength capable of more and looking forward to building up for the next league campaign.

Ripon are back in home action next week on Saturday 13th April in the first round of the prestigious Papa John Men’s Community Cup competition. Playing Darlington in the first competitive match between the two clubs in many years, Ripon aim to dust off the woes of their last game and head into another positive cup run. The kick off is at 3.00pm and all spectators welcome.

Match details

Match date

Sat 06 Apr 2024




Counties 2 Yorkshire

League position

North Ribblesdale
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Main Club Sponsor - Bronco
Major Club Sponsor - Theakstons
Shirt Sponsor - Econ
Shirt Sponsor - Dales Water
Shirt Sponsor - Paul Blood Driving School
Shirt Sponsor - Direct Sports Lighting
Major Club Sponsor - Ripon Interiors
Shirt Sponsor - Work Based Pensions
Club Sponsor - K A Anderson
Fit for Rugby, Fit for Life - RipFit