Tour match friendly
Hove 3rd XV 34pts
Ripley Rhinos 1st XV 20pts
RIPLEY travelled to Brighton for their annual tour and took on the might of Hove thirds in their match.
Rhino’s perhaps weren’t in their freshest state for the game on a hot afternoon and found themselves running up the slope in the first half.
The home side, who were ideal hosts for such a game, couldn’t put out a contested scrum, meaning Ripley had lost any advantage their team had that contained five front rowers.
Hove also had a very good full-back who was a cut above anyone else on their team and showed this after only five minutes when he fielded a kick deep inside his own half and put on the after burners to burst away to score.
Ripley didn’t have that sort of pace but they did a willingness to attack and although hooker Carl Whitley couldn’t take in a cross-field kick, they scored off the subsequent line-out when second row Keith Buzzard powered over the line.
A second Hove try followed but Ripley replied when the home side conceded a five-metre penalty and quick-thinking skipper Zeique Robinson tapped and dived over to score.
Rhinos were playing some decent rugby, the lineout unit functioning well and inside-centre Danny Rymell looking potent but there were no more scores in the first half with Ripley going in 12-10 behind.
Hove brought another flyer into the game for the second half but Rymell and outside-centre Paul Buzzard marshalled their pace men fairly well in defence.
Ripley’s side were starting to struggle as the pre-match activities began to kick in and were thankful that tight head prop Steve Cresswell was getting around the park well in support of all going on and his fellow prop Dave Arrowsmith was a thundering train of pain, barrelling into and through the Hove defence at every opportunity and Rhinos were unlucky to not make the most of his forward impetus.
Hove scored again before winger Roy Reeve stepped in to pick off a pass of theirs as it went wide and set off the long run to the line - at times it looked like he’d get there but as the defence neared, he spied Robinson steaming up in support and his deft grubber found his captain who dived in at the corner.
A fourth Rhino try came when fly-half Dave Trubee swept up a chip through from his opposite number and hoofed it into the Hove half and set off in chase. He managed to create enough havoc that Hove eventually passed it back to him and the best handling move of the game put Paul Buzzard away to score in the corner.
With 25 minutes left, Ripley had to try to dig deep and hold on but the home side put together decent rugby to run in three tries and ease out 34-20 winners.
As all tour games should be, this was a feast of running rugby and hugely enjoyable.
Prop Dave Arrowsmith won the joint Beaver Power and P Cresswell Builders Ltd player of the match award for his power display in the loose.
Rhinos firsts will look into the fixture pool for a game this Saturday.