U16s Survive Late Scare to Beat Ripon
In the away fixture last year it would be fair to say that Ripon wiped the floor with Yarnbury so this was always going to be a difficult game. This was also an opportunity to see how Yarnbury had prepared/recovered after the festive period.
Yarnbury (15) 20
Ripon (5) 17
Tries: Carter Proctor, Jamie Mcdonnell (2), James Longhawn
Yarnbury got themselves into a ten point lead before Ripon pegged them back. The home side restored their lead just before the half time break though. However the second half was a completely different story with Yarnbury conceding 12 points and only scoring 5. They held on following a late resurgence though when in the last play Ripon were just meters way from scoring the winner.
The first 5 minutes saw no real chances but Ripon probably had the most of possession and territory. However it was Yarnbury who saw the first opportunity come their way with a five meter line out following a Ripon infringement at the breakdown. However the ball was stolen and cleared to touch on half way. This time the lineout ball was won and following good breaks by Maxwell Lee, James Longhawn and Oscar Andrews Yarnbury were soon close to the try line and only one large Carter Proctor drive was required for the home side to get the first score. The conversion was missed but 9 minutes in Yarnbury had the lead; 5-0. Ripon struggled to break the Yarnbury defensive line and attempted grubber and chip kicks in order to beat the press but achieved no success. They still had the better of territory though but in big moments struggled to keep their heads, losing a line out to a jumping Joe Pilling and having the ball ripped from a maul they had created by Carter Proctor, both just five meters out from the Yarnbury line. Yarnbury attempted on a couple of occasions to run the ball out of their own 22. Following one cross field kick, Matt Schofield caught well and passed to Jamie Mcdonnell who broke up field before offloading back inside to the fullback running a good support line. However a knock on stopped the move after Yarnbury had made 30 meters. Later in the half Joe Birchall broke the defensive line in his 22 and made it up to half way before Nathan Snee could continue the move into the opposition 22. But another handling error stopped play.
Later in the half Yarnbury had a scrum on halfway following a Ripon knock on. The ball came out quickly and was passed to Edward Green who drew in two defenders before passing inside to Jamie Mcdonnell who had come off his wing. The gap had been created so the winger could break through the first line of defence, before beating the full back for pace and finishing superbly in the corner. Another conversion was short but 24 minutes in Yarnbury had doubled their lead; 10-0. Ripon were quick to respond though, after a Yarnbury line out was over thrown and caught by one of their forwards. The Yarnbury gaps were slow to react, leaving space on the opposite wing, which they exploited but their winger was caught just inside the 22. But the defence had been sucked in and so anther overlap was created on the far side and a try was scored in the corner. The conversion was missed but Yarnbury’s lead had been reduced to 5. Yarnbury took the last score of the half though in the last play. Ripon kicked for touch after being awarded a penalty on their 22, however the ball didn’t make the white wash and was caught by Jamie Mcdonnell. Continual pick and drives by the forwards took possession deep into the 22, before James Longhawn darted from the base of a ruck and stepped a defender in order to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, half time Yarnbury 15-5 Ripon.
Yarnbury kept the opening minutes of the second half fairly tight, holding on to the ball and using pick and drives to slowly make their way up the pitch. Occasionally explosive runs from, most noticeably, Saman Azari and Kennan Dixon-Dyer allowed Yarnbury to get further up the pitch. Eventually though Jamie Mcdonnell got his hands on the ball and if you thought his first try was good, this was on a completely different level. In some space he ran at the defence before stepping his opposite number. He then ran diagonally inside towards the post before stepping both a back tracking defender and the full back, before finally stepping one more flailing defender, allowing him to score between the posts and the corner flag opposite to the wing he had started on. The conversion was missed but 15 minutes into the second half Yarnbury had surely won this match; 20-5. However 3 minutes later another solo effort ended in a try and bought the scores back close. Following a Ripon scrum on half way for a knock on, the ball went into the middle where there outside centre could make a step before beating everyone for pace allowing him to score under the posts. The conversion was kicked bringing the teams to within 8 points of each other with 17 minutes to go; 20-12.
Yarnbury continued to attempt to keep the game tight holding possession for as long as they could making pick and drives up the field. This held the away side out until the 32nd minute of the second half when they just like Yarnbury attempted to run the ball out of their own 22. They managed to breach Yarnbury’s 22 before a tackle was made but then their prop could charge to the line, before pick and drives finally got them over. The conversion was the closest it could have possibly been to going over without being successful, hitting the top of the cross bar and dribbling over on the wrong side; 20-17. With a minute to go Yarnbury had the ball in hand in their own 22, picking and driving in an attempt to keep possession until the clock went red. However with surely seconds to go they gave away a penalty for an infringement at the ruck under immense pressure from Ripon. The way side kicked for a line out 5 meters out gunning for the winning try. The ball was gathered and a maul was set up. The drive though was unsuccessful making less than a meter so the scrum half darted for the line before a superb tackle stopped him and he knocked on, ending the match. Full time Yarnbury 20-17 Ripon.
Yarnbury: Matt Schofield, Jamie Mcdonnell, Josh Dunn, Edward Green (capt), Jacob Rawson, Oscar Andrews, Maxwell Lee, Carter Proctor, James Longhawn, Nathan Snee, Ruiari Daly, Alex Koppany, Sam Brown, Joe Birchall, Joe Pilling
Replacements: Saman Azari, Dan Mitchell, Leo Mercer, Jack Brownridge, Keenan Dixon-Dyer, Jimmy Strover
Man of the Match: Jamie Mcdonnell, his finishing was superb and he looked incredible in attack.