Acklam 66 Richmondshire 17
By Mark Collins
In a patchy performance in difficult conditions Acklam were still able to play enough quality rugby to win a resounding victory over Richmondshire.
Acklam took a while to get going in the rain and were penalised at the breakdown after 8 minutes, enabling Richmondshire to kick the penalty for an early lead. Whilst Acklam were trying to play their usual attacking game they were kept out by the visitors determined defence for the next ten minutes until the home team got on the scoreboard with a penalty of their own, kicked by stand off Danny Ashton.
All of a sudden Acklam were on their way and enjoyed a purple patch either side of half time which Richmondshire couldn't live with. First full back Dean Roberts
found acres of space when he kicked to the visitors' line and speedy winger Chris Mallam
won the race to dive on the ball and score. A couple of minutes later second row Danny Moss
burst through and the ball was quickly moved out wide for Roberts to touch down in the corner. Neither of these tries were coverted by Ashton but he was back on target a few minutes later when he kicked his second penalty to increase the lead to 16 -3.
Acklam then cut loose, scoring four more tries in the last 10 minutes of the half. They stole the ball at a lineout and surged up the field with great support play resulting in a try for back row James Ffitch
. Then Roberts provided another try for Mallam, putting him clear to run round behind the posts. Acklam were on the attack again from the restart and when they ran a penalty Ashton sidestepped a couple of defenders then offloaded for supporting back row Paddy O'Brien to score. Ashton ended the half with a great piece of skill, giving a lovely pass behind his back for number 8 Andy Dalton
to score and all of a sudden it was 44 -3 to Acklam at the break.
The rampant home side started the second half the same way that they finished the first - they gained possession from a Richmondshire knock on and moved the ball left then right for winger Brad Gater to beat two men and score . Ashton then made another break and put the opposite wing John Hall
in to join the list of scorers. This put Acklam out of sight at 54 -3 up a few minutes into the second half. At this point they seemed to take their foot off the gas and got very sloppy in defence. After centre Andy Dunn was given a yellow card for a high tackle one of the visitors' centres was allowed to slice his way through to score. Then from the restart Richmondshire moved the ball wide and more missed tackles enabled them to score again immediately, pegging Acklam back to 54 -17. Acklam then woke up, although play was scrappy for most of the second half.
Normal service was eventually resumed in the last ten minutes. Acklam were pressing hard and after losing the ball on the Richmondshire line they seized on the clearance and good passing gave Dalton his second try. Finally Richmondshire were on the attack but dropped the ball deep in Acklam's 22 - it was picked up by Gater who set off on a great 80 metre run to outpace the cover defence and score a fine individual try to put the seal on Acklam's 66 --17 win.