Rugby Union friendly
2nd XV 24pts
Belper 3rd XV 0pts
RHINOS seconds welcomed Belper thirds to a cold Mill Hill for a friendly to finish off Ripley’s rugby for 2011.
Skipper Craig Culshaw was restored to the side and he had a decent squad at his disposal with a guest appearance from Matt Upton at fly half and the very strong Russell Dixon on debut.
Belper had a mixture of youth and experience at their disposal but suffered in the scrums and didn’t quite get their game gelled together to release their pace into the game often enough.
Ripley had to defend hard in the early stages but once they weathered the storm, they moved themselves upfield through the promptings of fly half Upton and the powerful running of centre Anton Brown and Danny Rymell.
Belper’s indiscipline around the offside line gave the hosts some easy yardage and the chance to exert pressure in the 22 which eventually they defended well against but ultimately culminated in fly half Upton strolling in to score, with second row Liam Porter slotting the conversion.
Belper had opportunities to attack and made good yards but just didn’t find the killer instinct for the score they strove for and were punished when Brown made a break from their 10 metre line and Rymell was on hand to follow up and score.
The second half saw the temperature dropping rapidly and Ripley ruing the changes - Malcolm Norris came on in the back row and put some good low tackles in belying his age and Dixon made a couple of powerful hits on his opposite number.
An injury in the Belper front row saw Ripley’s Carl Whitley step in and battle against the pack he would normally coach.
The game was stop-start as errors saw any hope of flowing rugby dissipate but Ripley seemed to have the game under their control with outside half Upton dictating the game and the defence up to snuffing out the Belper threat; Rymell and scrum half Mitch Wilmott in particular.
The killer try came with 12 minutes left when a solid scrum saw the ball worked to Brown and he powered through under the posts. Matt Upton converted and Rhinos were 19-0 ahead.
Upton’s astute kick then saw Rymell chase and pouch the ball to go in at the corner and get a deserved second try to round off the scoring soon after. The game closed with Ripley running out 24-0 victors.
This was a pleasing finish to the campaign for the side - they were stronger than Belper and would have expected to take the win but put in some decent rugby will doing so.
Outside centre Danny Rymell was again the best Rhino on the park and took the BAB Plumbing and Heating man of the match award from his team mates.
Rhinos now take a break over Christmas and New Year before restarting with the 1st team travelling to HMP Ranby on Saturday, January 7, 2012.