Ripley Rhinos finished their season with their traditional friendly against a Derbyshire Police XV on a perfect Mill Hill evening, winning the fixture 31-12.
The Rhinos side certainly had a Barbarians feel to it as a number of Ripley players who moved onto other clubs came along and turned out but all had played for Ripley Rhinos previously, many for years.
Skipper Craig Culshaw led his men up the slope in the first half. The first ten minutes were end-to-end stuff with both sides butchering chances to score.
Ripley had the edge in the set piece, with the front row of Dave Arrowsmith, Craig Culshaw and Andy Upton getting the nudge on. Adie Weir later replaced Arrowsmith to help keep this domination throughout the game. The lineout saw Ripley have the edge as well with the various jumpers; flankers Zeique Robinson and Sam Smith and second rows Paul Buzzard and Steve Roberts secure on their own ball and able to regularly spoil the Constabulary’s.
Ripley scored twice in the first half with second row Paul Buzzard notching both, and number eight Jack Blount adding a conversion. The Police scored once to trail 12-7 at the break.
Rhinos fly half Matt Upton pulled the strings for his side in the second half as outside centre Stewart Kirkup scored twice to stretch the Ripley lead.
A final try from replacement centre Danny Rymell and two conversions from Blount, with the Police touching down once, left Ripley as 31-12 winners.
The game was closer than the scoreline suggests with the maroons only pulling away in the last quarter.
Both teams played some excellent rugby in an even-tempered game, well refereed by James Franco.
Matt Upton’s efforts in attack and defence saw him just pip his brother Andy to the BAB Plumbing & Heating man of the match award from his team mates.
Rhinos will continue their training over the summer with fitness sessions on a Monday and touch rugby sessions on a Wednesday. All players are welcome. For more details, ring 07816 779018.