Ripon finish strongly to grab draw plus bonus point.
Ripon’s good start to the season continued on Saturday with a well earned bonus point draw at newly promoted Roundhegians.
On a hot day more suited to basking on a beach with an ice cold beer the game was played at a brisk pace with both sides trying to play open rugby.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with the hosts probably having the edge but it was Ripon who opened the scoring after 12 minutes when a quickly taken throw in by Rob HARRISON put skipper Jason Bell away who outpaced his chasers from 40 metres out to score under the posts with Guy Watkinson converting for a 7 point lead.
Roundhegians hit back quickly with a penalty and 2 well taken tries and after 25 minutes were now ahead 15-7.
A Watkinson penalty reduced the arrears and then a good passage of play by backs and forwards allowed Bell to burst through in mid field and add another try close to the posts.Watkinson converted to make the half time score 15-17 to Ripon.
The second half started with Ripon’s lineout problems being exploited to the full by their hosts and after only 2 minutes a catch and drive resulted in a try.Only 5 minutes later the same ploy was used and Roundhegians took a 10 point lead.
Ripon hit back once again with a try by Jonny Frank which was converted by Watkinson.
Once more the hosts took control and taking advantage of some weak tackling crossed over for their 5 th try and a healthy 34-24 lead.
As the game entered it’s final stages Ripon once again reduced the deficit with a penalty by Watkinson and a wonderful mazy run from his own half by teenager Ben James almost resulted in a try.
Ripon kept up the pressure and finally Ben James was rewarded with a try in the corner.The conversion from the touch line would bring the scores level and youngster Guy Watkinson duly obliged.
A tense final few minutes were played out just inside the Ripon half but the pack were able to keep possession and run the clock down.
As the score suggests Ripon were chasing the game for long periods but refused to be beaten and must take credit again for their efforts in the final minutes of the match.
Ripon entertain Selby at home next Saturday with a 3-00 p.m.Kick off.