Match Report Sunday 31 March 2019
North Ribblesdale RUFC U15s vs Wharfedale RUFC U15s
Played at The Avenue, Threshfield
On a fair, yet chilly Mothers’ Day morning, and with both sides at less than full strength through injuries and county level call ups, Freddie Spensley kicked off proceedings with a skittering ball that was unconvincingly gathered by Wharfedale. In the act of losing the ball in the ruck Wharfedale were pinged for going offside presenting the day’s first penalty to Freddie’s boot. An accurate kick found touch but from the lineout Gus Ogden’s throw to Adam Dunwell was adjudged not straight, Wharfedale opting to scrum. Scrums were uncontested so the focus was on what the team with the put in would do with the ball. Wharfedale decided to run but were repelled first by Ben Coultherd then by a ball-ripping Adam. Adam took the ball into contact and, again, Wharfedale were penalised for going offside. Freddie placed another wonderful kick to touch for a Ribb lineout. Adam took a good throw from Gus and the pack closed in to drive towards the try line. Matty Garth peeled off with the ball and fed Freddie who popped to the ever ready Joey Pratt. Wharfedale were again over zealous and tackled Joey from an offside start. Freddie fed the penalty to Adam to barge with before turning to set the ruck. Leo Walkden saw a gap from the back of the ruck and dived headlong to plant the ball over the try line, Joey converting with a great thumping left boot straight through the middle of the sticks to post a very pleasing 0-7 score line after 7 minutes of domination.
Wharfedale’s restart was left to bounce before Leo gathered it and arced to the left wing before passing to Freddie. Freddie launched a missile that Harris Dinsdale chased and sacked. Wharfedale panicked and held on to the ball giving yet another penalty to Ribb. Freddie again kicked to within 15m of the try line. Another wonky throw to Adam, and Wharfedale again chose to scrum. The Wharfedale backs clearly fancied their chances and ran at centre Harris who gladly smashed his man backwards with a shuddering tackle. Every action by Ribb was being executed with grace and power. Wharfedale rucked well, and emerged with another chance to run. Having sidestepped the first challenge the runner was then flattened by Max Sutcliffe but play was returned for a penalty to the hosts for Ribb being offside. Wharfedale secured the lineout ball and mauled towards the try line before breaking off and making a dash for the corner. Flynn Wake covered his man well, and Liam Knights caught the Wharfedale kick that followed before giving to Joey for another run. Freddie finally hoisted a kick for touch that gave Wharfedale the lineout deep inside their own half. Wharfedale ran a penalty (given for Ribb encroaching at the lineout) and Harris almost intercepted the ball in midfield before Max stole the ball and had a rapid sprint through the middle. Not having learnt from the previous 5 decisions against them Wharfedale were again offside at the ruck and Freddie (again) kicked for the corner. The Gus to Adam lineout was now functioning perfectly and Joey had another battering ram run into the pack from which Freddie launched a ball for Liam to chase to touch. Wharfedale were going backwards at every opportunity, and it was no surprise when Matty ripped the ball from Wharfedale at the lineout setting up Freddie for an unsuccessful drop goal attempt on 17 minutes. The 22m drop restart went straight to Ben who returned it with electric pace before turning and setting. Adam took the ball into contact again before Leo fed Liam who was scrag tackled in full flight on the left wing. Freddie kicked the penalty to touch 10m from the try line. Gus flighted a perfect ball to Adam, who took control as his pack mauled around him. Leo then popped a gloriously timed ball to Joey who scythed through the Wharfedale midfield to dot down, Ben kicking the extras for an even more pleasing 0-14 after 19 minutes.
Wharfedale’s next kick off bounced, without intervention, to touch for a Ribb lineout (on appeal). Adam took the throw and Freddie kicked up the line for Harris and Liam to chase. Despite the pressure, Wharfedale did take possession and Ribb were penalised for not rolling away after the tackle. Wharfedale were doubtless relieved to kick for touch and take the lineout. Ribb weren’t done, though, and continued to apply pressure, Joey ripping the ball in the tackle, but sadly from an offside starting position. Liam was then presented with a sprinting opportunity but was neck tackled; Freddie planting the penalty kick 30m down the line to bring a breathless opening 25 minutes to a close.
Wharfedale opened the second half with a kick to the left that Joey took into contact. Leo and Max were then left exposed as they tried to take play further, Wharfedale chipping over and Liam having to cover back before the ball bobbled out of play. Will Clay was getting some lovely hits in with his shoulder crunching into tackles, as well as being the most alert to play scrum half if Leo was otherwise engaged at a ruck. Harris and Joey were presenting a united threat in defence as Harris’s penchant for skittling at the kneecap was the Yin to Joey’s fondness to rip the ball’s Yang. Many threatening Wharfedale backs moves came unstuck in this fashion. After 5 minutes of the second half, Ribb were penalised for having too many players in a Wharfedale lineout. The free kick was caught by Ben just inside his own half, and returned to Wharfedale’s 22. Freddie then chipped through for Flynn to chase. Flynn caught, drew, and fed Joey but just marginally ahead of him resulting in a knock on and scrum to Wharfedale. As the Ribb backs advanced Joey stole the ball (again) in the tackle and was awarded a penalty as Wharfedale failed to roll away after the tackle. Freddie’s pass to Adam was called forwards for a scrum to Wharfedale. The hosts moved the ball across their backs from left to right and back again, but were unable to get past a tenacious Ribb backs line until they were awarded a penalty for failure to roll away after the tackle. After 11 minutes of the second half Ribb were reduced in number for a high tackle. The same charge could have been levelled at a number of home players but two minutes into the advantage Wharfedale passed well to the right and scored (unconverted) to make the score 5-14 after 13 minutes of the second half.
Freddie’s restart was near perfect, and caught by a leaping Adam, *just* short of the 10m line. Wharfedale chose to scrum on the centre spot. The attack from Wharfedale was stopped by a sturdy challenge from Liam which also forced a knock on. Scrum Ribb. Freddie’s kick from Leo’s pass was almost charged down but still went to touch (lineout Ribb). The pressure and momentum were growing in Ribb’s favour. Freddie put a bit too much weight on a kick to the corner, and the ball went dead for a 22m drop restart to Wharfedale. The kick went sailing into touch and, so as not to lose any more momentum, Freddie intelligently took a quick lineout to himself, and then took the ball firmly into contact. Wharfedale rucked over and won possession, before springing a runner at the Ribb defence. With just fullback Ben to beat, the pacey runner sidestepped the challenge, but his reduction in pace allowed Leo to snare him from behind, saving the try and causing the runner to spill the ball forwards. Scrum Ribb. Back up to full strength, Ribb ran the ball at Wharfedale through Joey, and Adam before Freddie floated a pass the Harris. Harris delayed, drew his man, and then shipped to Flynn who cruised in to the corner for an exhilarating try. 5-19 after 20 minutes of the second half.
The Wharfedale restart was called and caught by Flynn, who fed Max. Max accelerated and piled into contact before lofting a long pass to (just ahead of) Liam. Wharfedale were trying to spoil, and with some success as a melee was awarded in their favour. It mattered little, though, as the pressure on the Ribb try line resulted only in glory for Ben, and Liam who both made superb try saving smashes in as close to text book tackling as you can get. Final score 5-19 to the mighty Ribb. Man of the match, captain Adam Dunwell.