Rugby Union friendly
Gordano 3rd XV 31pts
Ripley Rhinos 1st XV 19pts
RHINOS chose Bristol as their annual tour destination for this season as 23 players and support staff travelled South Westwards for a weekend of rugby, convivial bonhomie and fund raising sponsored by P Cresswell Builders Ltd.
Ripley’s Saturday match was against Gordano thirds on a hot and sunny afternoon.
The tourists began brightly but with a try from flanker Zeique Robinson but started to struggle in the heat as the hosts scored three times to lead 19-5 at half time.
The second half saw Gordano have the lion’s share of the attacking to score twice and secure the win.
Ripley managed two of their own; both converted by fly half Will Evans. Firstly outside centre Paul Buzzard put together a great solo run, cutting through the hosts defence to score from range, and then full back Adam Parr retrieved a ball two metres from his line to set up a length of the pitch move that involved most of the side and was finished off again by the pace of Paul Buzzard.
Gordano were excellent hosts and contributed to a good night and to the Rhino fund raising efforts for the Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.
Paul Buzzard got the P Cresswell Builders Ltd man of the match for his finishing and pace.
Cinderford Vets XV 38pts
Ripley Rhinos 1st XV 19pts
Sunday’s game saw Ripley travelling up the A48 to National League 1 side Cinderford to take on their Veterans side.
The game was played in superb spirit with Cinderford scoring four first half tries as they looked a class outfit but Rhinos managed one of their own through skipper Andy Upton from a short range drive.
The second half saw more entertainment for the crowd as Cinderford scored twice more but Ripley notched a brace as well.
Firstly forward pressure saw a penalty try being awarded from a 5 metre scrum, converted by hooker Craig Culshaw, then the final score came from a break from blindside flanker Keith Buzzard who showed the hunger deep in his belly even after 80 minutes of sapping heat to set up prop Dave Arrowsmith for the score, converted by full back Adam Parr.
Cinderford could not have been more generous in their hosting, kindly donating to Ripley’s fund raising efforts; across the weekend these saw £160 being garnered.
Ripley’s P Cresswell Builders Ltd Man of the Match award went to scrum half Mitch Wilmott who played strongly all weekend but the undoubted start of the show was referee Charlie Gayther from Cinderford who showed remarkable maturity and skill to control the game in exactly the spirit of the afternoon.
Rhinos firsts are now preparing for their Derbyshire President’s Final on Easter Monday; an 11am kick off against Tupton 2nds at Glossop RFC.