NLD Pennant League
Tupton 2nd XV 55pts
Ripley Rhinos 2nd XV 7pts
RHINOS seconds were again short on numbers but thanks to Tupton’s continuing generosity were never more than a man less than their opponents as the heat told on a sapping afternoon.
Tupton had the upper hand from the kick off and kept it throughout the game, forcing Ripley to live on scraps.
The Rhino pack did remarkably well with prop Dave Cleland looking strong in the tight but the hosts had the advantage in age and fitness and their pacey backline were ever eager to run the ball back in the spaces created by playing short numbers on a large pitch.
There was a lot of cover tackling for Ripley to do and despite good efforts from winger Adam Njie and outside-centre Martin Seccombe; Tupton crossed the try line five times in the first half.
Ripley did get on the scoreboard when some determined pick and driving from the pack forced the ball deep into the Tupton 22 and hooker Keegan Pelser was on hand to feed the perfect pass to inside-centre Jamie Brown who crashed over to score with the last play of the half.
Fly half Dave Trubee converted it to leave his side 29-7 behind.
The second half saw the heat really telling on the visitors as they tired and with Tupton still full of running, were on the defence most of the time.
Cleland marred his good performance with a moment of madness seeing him having ten minutes in the sin bin.
Full back Steve Lowe moved into the pack and continued to give his all, as were his colleagues in a light blue shirt, both borrowed and original but it was battling in a losing cause.
Four more Tupton tries came and they eased out 55-7 winners.
Again indebted to opponents who lent them players, Ripley battled hard but were always struggling against Tupton’s pace and fitness.
Winger Adam Njie worked tirelessly across the pith all game and merited the BAB Plumbing and Heating man of the match award he received from his team mates.
National Challenge 2 North
Rhinos Ladies XV 0pts
Derby Vipers Ladies 36pts
Rhinos Ladies opened their season with a decent display in this 36-0 defeat at home to Derby Vipers Ladies.
Derby had the edge in pace and this made the difference with three tries in each half. Ripley battled hard and were unlucky not to get a consolation at the end.
Derby were very generous in lending players and helped ensure a good afternoon’s rugby went ahead.
Inside-centre Mel Clay was outstanding in attack and defence and was a clear winner of the Abex Window Cleaners man of the match award from her team mates.