National Challenge 2 North
Rhinos Ladies XV 5pts
WILD horses wouldn’t have stopped Ripley from playing this game despite ground underfoot that was just passed as playable and several players dropping out at short notice giving stand-in captain Liz Trubee a headache.
The selection process was helped by Bethan Arthur coming back from University and bringing Alex Cummins with her, and Sian Fern and Kerry Finch kindly guesting from Derby Vipers RFC.
Ripley knew they’d be up against it, with Doncaster having more pace and experience in their side and so it proved with an early break as no-one could lay a hand on the visitor player galloping away.
A second try followed and Rhinos were up against it but they then began to exert the power they had in the set piece to win some ball and territory.
The front row of Fern, hooker Emma Sheldon and Trubee had the edge over the varied opponents they came up against as they game wore on and Arthur was a strong presence at scrum half.
Powerful running from Arthur, Trubee and Fern pushed Ripley into the Doncaster 22 and eventually Arthur was stopped just short of the line but inside centre Jade Sheldon was on hand to pick up and dive over to score her first try for the club.
Doncaster used their superior pace and handling to run two more tries in before the break and go into half-time 26-5 ahead.
Trubee urged her team to get the bit between their teeth in the second half and up their defensive game.
They did this to an extent but Doncaster utilised the space available to them well, and the fact Ripley were tiring to turn breaks into points.
Doncaster scored four more second half tries, with their kicker converting all four, as they pulled away from their hosts.
Didn’t give up
Ripley didn’t give up and both Sheldon’s were powerful carriers with ball in hand and looked strong weapons in attack. Rhinos finished the game camped on the Doncaster line but the visitors proved to be as strong in defence and attack and a second try wasn’t forthcoming.
It was a credit to both sides that a game was played in the conditions and circumstances and Ripley tried hard but were thoroughly outplayed by their visitors.
The Rhino players and spectators gave the Abex Window Cleaning Contractors player of the match award to skipper Liz Trubee.