Narrow loss for Rhinos

Ripley Rhinos scored four tries in this enjoyable Pennant League Group Four game on Saturday but Newark’s ability to punish turnover ball saw them end up as the winners .

Games between these sides are always close and this was no different.

Ripley took the lead after a period of pressure with a try from second row Keith Buzzard, converted by skipper Will Evans.

Newark struck back and took advantage of defensive frailties to score two converted tries of their own.

A wonder converted try from inside centre Paul Buzzard, dancing through from a quick tap penalty on halfway, levelled it up but two more Newark tries saw them 28-14 ahead at the break.

Rhinos needed to start the second half well, now bolstered by the slope and the minimal wind, and for once they did.

Strong running from scrum half Mitch Wilmott, prop Andy Upton and both Buzzards pushed Newark back.

The visitors’ defence was strong and they tackled well but Rhinos just lacked a cutting edge.

Newark always looked threatening on the counter and Ripley’s very much older backline were struggling at times to cope with their youthful bursts.

Maroon scrum half Mitch Wilmott scored a try close to the hour, with Evans converting but Newark struck back with a quick breakaway from turnover ball deep in their 22.

Rhinos managed one more when Derek Houston soared above the Newark defence to catch a crossfield kick and score his first try for the club.

The final whistle, blown by the excellent referee, came with Newark 35-26 winners in what was a hugely enjoyable game.

If Ripley can iron out the defensive lapses, then games like these will turn into wins.

Inside centre Paul Buzzard just pipped scrum half Mitch Wilmott to be BAB Plumbing & Heating man of the match.

Rhinos once again hope to welcome Stamford College Old Boys 1st XV to Mill Hill on Saturday for the much postponed NLD Vase quarter final(2.15pm).