NLD Pennant League,
Ashfield 2nd XV 19pts
1st XV 10pts
RHINOS travelled over to Ashfield School to faced Ashfield seconds in this Pennant League encounter.
The captaincy moved on to Keith Buzzard with Will Evans unavailable due to illness and his absence also gave Rupert Tighe the chance for a first team debut at fly-half.
The visitors had the advantage of the slope in the first half but Ashfield began strongly and wanted to run the ball hard at the maroons from the off. Ripley’s defence was spot-on and the midfield of Tighe and centres Russell Dixon and Danny Rymell were quickly up and low tackling, and when the home side channelled their runs toward the pack, back rowers Liam Murcott and Ben Heanue were there to do a similar job.
The one flaw was a tendency to give away too many penalties at the breakdown but when Ashfield choose to kick for touch, the lineout unit and pack were up to keeping them at bay.
A strong run from Dixon gave Ripley their first possession in the home team half and a subsequent Ashfield penalty offence gave winger Dave Trubee the chance to step up and slot the penalty from the 10 metre line to give his side the lead. Rhinos took the chance to rotate the squad with young wingers Adam Chawner and Matt Whysall coming on and acquitting themselves well.
Ashfield continued to press and eventually used their power to force the opening for their first try. Ripley could have had more scores of their own but despite good breaks from Tighe, Rymell and full back Adam Parr they couldn’t turn pressure into points.
Buzzard’s half-time team talk centred on cutting down the penalty count and continuing the second half as they had left off the first.
Ashfield continued their pressure display and crucially made the most of the slope to pin Ripley back inside their 22 and having to defend for long periods.
The defence was still strong, again Tighe and Murcott to the fore but eventually Ashfield forced a second try which they converted for a 12-3 lead.
Whysall had an outstanding run from his 22 that went deep into the Ashfield half and showed a glimpse of the talent he will be as he learns more about rugby but it could’t be turned into points.
The Rhino scrum were more than holding their own with the front row of props Dave Arrowsmith and Carl Whitley and hooker Craig Culshaw taking balls against the head at times to relieve the Ashfield attacking pressure.
A third home side try came after another series of drives at the Ripley line and the conversion took the game away from Ripley.
The maroons had the final say when a break from winger Derek Houston and Rymell was finished off by scrum half Mitch Wilmott diving in to score in the corner from the last play.
Trubee slotted the tricky touchline conversion to round off the scoring with Ripley losing 19-10.
This was a well-contested game and Ashfield’s ability to make the most of the slope to back up their strong attacking was the key to their win. Ripley defended well and pu in a very decent performa
Rupert Tighe was a runaway winner of the Abex Window Cleaning Contractors Man of the Match award from his team mates with an assured display at fly half.
Ripley seconds are the only Ripley team in action this weekend when they host East Leake 3rds on Saturday in the Pennant at Mill Hill; kick off 2.30pm.