A pleasant autumn afternoon welcomed Ripon 2nd XV to the Avenue for the next league encounter for the 3rds. For the home side this was the first opportunity to play following the narrow 20-19 defeat at the hands of Keighley a fortnight earlier.
Early exchanges were tight and set the tone for the match, with Wharfedale doing most of the ball carrying, veteran Jonathan Davies orchestrating proceedings from flyhalf and forwards David Wade and Jack Kitching making strong yards, but Ripon were more than up for the challenge and their defence was excellent. The home side had the first chance to score after Ripon gave away a simple penalty chance in front of their posts. JD wisely opted for the points but unwisely missed a sitter.
Ripon then began to show their attacking abilities and scored first. The ball was put through the back line to the right playing towards the river and their centre cut through the home defence and, despite a last ditch effort by scrumhalf Sam Stockdale, he managed to score to the right of the posts. The extras were missed but the visitors were 5-0 up.
Wharfedale came back strongly and soon camped themselves in Ripon’s 22. After several attacking phases, JD cut through the line to score under the posts, this time making no mistake with the extras and we were in front at 7-5.
Penalties were then successfully exchanged for both teams to take the score up to 10-8 to the hosts, and then as the half neared its close, the men in green extended their lead after a well drilled rolling maul powered over in the top right corner with flanker Andrew Bode claiming the touchdown for a half time score of 15-8.
The second half got underway and the home side were soon to claim their next score, Jon Feeley cut a great arcing run from fullback to scythe through the Ripon defenders, touching down near the scoreboard. JD then added the extras with a bit of fortune as the ball went over off the post. 25-8.
Ripon then enjoyed their best period of the match and could have made the final minutes very exciting. Firstly, they broke through the middle of the park, some excellent last ditch tackling efforts did thwart the attack briefly but the ball was put wide and they scored out on the right. 25-13. Then another Ripon attack should have added another 7 points as they once again broke through the middle. Their final man only hand to catch the ball and fall over the line, unfortunately for Ripon he only did the latter and the home side breathed a sigh of relief.
They were still not done, but a little against the run of play, Wharfedale sealed the match as Davies broke through for his second and added the extras to take the final score to 32-13.
It had been a really pleasing bonus point win against a very good Ripon side and it was good to see a few faces successfully returning from injury. Unfortunately a couple more were added to the wounded list with Joe Gill twisting an ankle and Sam Smith getting concussed, both of whom we wish a speedy recovery.
1. Thomas Walker
2. Tom Carlisle
3. Joe Jackson
4. Jack Kitching
5. James Ardron
6. David Wade
7. Andrew Bode
8. Joe Metcalfe
9. Sam Stockdale
10. Jonathan Davies
11. Sam Smith
12. Sam Mason
13. Joe Gill
14. Adam Stockdale
15. Jon Feeley
16. Jonny Burton
17. John Stephenson
18. Paul Marklew
19. Joe Daggett
20. Ed Walker
Tries: Davies (2), Bode, Feeley, Cons: Davies (3), Pens: Davies (2)