Ryton got off to the worst possible start when the sniper got snipered. Epily collapsing in a heap 5 m from his own try line with his first touch of the game, inside the opening minute. The resulting penalty for Horden was placed in the corner and then Epily’s lack of mobility left a hole behind the lineout which was exploited allowing the Horden 10 an easy score and the first 7 points of the game.
On came Hal Convery
and Ryton regrouped behind the posts. From this moment the home side looked the better of the two sides. Some good counter attacking with backs and forwards combining set up field position within the Horden 22 and attack after attack was launched. The forwards got through some hard work and the referee was forced to penalise Horden on multiple occasions for infringements around the ruck and maul area. The pressure finally told when from a pick up at the back of the scrum by Hayden Smith
, Ryton forwards continued to keep the ball tight and eventually Rob Scott buried his way over from close range. Jon Benson
added the 2 and the scores were tied.
Virtually from the kick off Ryton undid some of this good work, giving away a penalty in there own half which Horden slotted to re-take the lead and give them 10 points from 2 visits into the Ryton half. The home team didn’t panic and continued to play the game in the Horden 22, again and again Ryton broke the visitors game line and eventually a great support line from Matty Oxley and a well timed pass resulted in one of last seasons rising stars going under the posts virtually un apposed for Rytons 2nd try and with the conversion from Benson this gave the home team a 4 point advantage going into half time at 14 – 10.
The half time team talk was positive and Ryton began the second half as they had finished the first. Matthew Oxley
was unlucky not to pluck the kick off from the waiting Horden jumpers hands and just knocked the ball on. Horden couldn’t clear their lines and pressure from Ryton resulted in another forward scoring a try, this time the small, slim figure of Matthew Hardy
, powered his way over with two defenders in tow to open up a 9 point gap.
With both spectators and the team expecting to push on for not only a win but a great performance it was inevitable that Horden would come back into the game and reduce the deficit. Unforced errors and silly penalties resulted in any field position Ryton gained being surrendered and Horden took every chance they got to allow the 10 to use his cultured boot to give the visitors hope.
Two clean struck penalties made it 19 – 16 and although Rytons defence never looked like being broken, refereeing decisions and the sort of errors you would expect during the first game of the season began to take there toll. As the penalties mounted frustration stated to build and with about 10 mins to go Horden drew level. With minutes to go Horden could have taken the win however a kick just crept wide of the posts and Ryton hung on for the draw.
Overall Ryton were happy with the result and take a lot of positives from the match. If this had been a league match it would have been seen as points lost however to draw, progress and score 3 tries this was a promising start.