Long Eaton 3rd XV 53-7 Ripley Rhinos 1st XV
Rhinos travelled to Long Eaton 3rds and competed hard until they ran out of steam as their hosts won 53-7 in this friendly
Ripley continued their rebuilding with a game at West Park against a Long Eaton 3rd string. Skipper Will Evans was pleased to only need to borrow the effective Alan Cook from his hosts to see a 14-a-side game go-ahead. The home team weren't able to contest at the scrums which negated Ripley's upfront strength and put the emphasis on the backline that hadn't played together much before.
Rhinos had the benefit of the wind in the first half and the initial play was fairly level. Inside-centre Steve Carroll was delighted to get involved early on, a decade after his last game of rugby. Powerful runs from tight head prop Anton Brown gave Ripley impetus and strong tackling from blindside flanker John Scowby kept Long Eaton pegged back.
The home side then had a period of attacking possession in the Rhino 22 after a penetrating kick and turned it into a converted score. The visitors drove the ball back downfield through the promptings of fly half Evans and were pushing for an equalising score with loose head prop Dave Arrowsmith driving powerfully when they were unfortunate to have the ball turned over and Long Eaton broke away to score and take a 14-0 lead into half time.
Evans rallied his troops at half time but they knew they were up against it. Long Eaton had the conditions in their favour and their backline had begun to gel, giving Ripley problems. The maroons continued to work hard but it was mostly in defence. The lineout functioned well with openside flanker Zeique Robinson winning good ball for his side. Too often though, Rhinos allowed themselves to be turned over at the breakdown; not as quick to interpret what the referee wanted as the home side but also too slow in getting numbers to the ruck. Second row Scott Randall made an impact in the game when he could in his first rugby match and returning outside centre Tim Smith offered attacking threat but it was mostly defence required from their team.
Long Eaton had found their attacking feet and ran two tries in before Ripley got on the board. Long Eaton won a scrum on their 22 but Rhino No.8 Ben Heanue stripped his rumbustious opposite number of the ball and charged toward the line, he was tackled just short and Long Eaton killed the ball. Evans elected to scrum from the penalty and Scowby, switched to scrum half by now, took off mostly sideway but handing off opponents as they came at him before he released winger Paul Thornhill who drove forward but was held up over the line. The resulting scrum saw Scowby power away again and straighten to crash over the line. Evans added the conversion.
Rhinos were struggling to compete at this point with their age and fitness not a match for the home side and Long Eaton scored five more tries in the last fifteen minutes to rack up the half century and ease out 53-7 winners.
Scorelines don't lie and thus Long Eaton won this game by a wide margin. Ripley competed well until they tired and were carrying injuries and then got taken apart in defence. That said, it was a tight game for the first fifty minutes and better fitness and more experience would see the maroons competitive for the full game. Ripley's player of the match was John Scowby and he took the BAB Plumbing & Heating man of the match award from his team mates.
The maroons play their next game in a fortnight. In the meantime, they continue their training; Monday evenings at the Pulse Gym for fitness and Thursday evenings at the Ripley Academy for skills. All adult players of any ability or experience are welcome; for more details ring 07816 779018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org