Wharfedale Dev XV 30 (5 tries) – 28 (4 tries) Ripon 2nd XV
A bright sunny day, ideal playing conditions and a healthy crowd welcomed Ripon’s second team to the Avenue for the third team’s last league game of a successful season. Up to now, Wharfedale 3rds had only lost 3 league games, and secured second place in the table. A winning finish to the league campaign was the target for the day, but Ripon were never going to make matters easy.
The visitors started the brighter, playing down the slope and had the first opportunity to score as Wharfedale were caught offside, but the penalty attempt was missed but from the resulting action, Ripon turned over the ball at a ruck and managed to beat the defence to score out wide on the left, 0-7.
Better play by the home side saw the ball spun wide to occasional winger Simon Borrill, who made good yards before offloading to Ben Booth who crossed for Wharfedales first points of the afternoon, 5-7.
Ripon came straight back and extended their lead by exploiting some weak defending in the middle of the park, their centre managed to evade all would be tacklers and finished off a fine individual score, 5-14.
Wharfedale then had the better of what remained of the first half. First a penalty successfully converted by Harris Catley closed the gap to 8-14. The solid scrum platform enabled Sam Mason to break down the blind side and put Borrill in at the corner, 13-14.
The team started the second half with the slope advantage brightly and were soon threatening the Ripon defence. A clearance kick fielded by Lawrence Taylor was fed wide to Borrill via Harry Croft and David Wade, and inroads were made deep into Ripon territory but strong tackling bundled Borrill into touch. ‘Dale capitalised on a poor Ripon lineout as Andrew Bode cleared up the loose ball, quick ball from the ruck and a good line by Jack Kitching saw the number 8 put the home side in front for the first time, 18-14.
Wharfedale then extended their lead. Another Ripon lineout went awry, and was gathered up by Thomas Walker. The ball was quickly recycled and spun wide to Catley, who out-paced the defence to score wide on the right and was successful with the tricky conversion, 25-14.
Ripon were not finished though. Weak defence in the midfield enabled their fullback to scythe through and touch down, 25-21. Wharfedale responded from a lineout in the Ripon 22, from which the ball was passed out to Booth, who cut a neat angle to crash over for his second try, 30-21.
Once again Ripon came back and scored another converted try to narrow the gap to 30-28 and set up a tense finale. As the clocked ticked away, Wharfedale were looking likely to hang on to the lead and the win, but a penalty was given away within range for the Ripon kicker who had enjoyed a succesfull afternoon with the boot.
A huge sigh of relief was breathed as the kick was missed and the final whistle was blown. Final score Wharfedale 3’s 30, Ripon 2’s 28.
1. Matthew Close
2. Tom Carlisle
3. Donk Close
4. Jed Brewis
5. James Ardron
6. David Wade
7. Andrew Bode
8. Jack Kitching
9. Sam Mason
10. Joel Bradley
11. Ben Hammonds
12. Ben Booth
13. Harry Croft
14. Simon Borrill
15. Harris Catley
16. Thomas Walker
17. Robert Burnett
18. Lawrence Taylor
Tries: Booth 2, Borrill, Catley, Kitching