North Ribblesdale 38 Pts Old Grovians 17 Pts
By Richard Green
Ribblesdale finish a frustrating season with a welcome win.
NORTH Ribblesdale followed up a much-improved performance at Northallerton with a great display of driving forward play in a 38-17 win against Old Grovians at Grove Park on Saturday.
The victory saw Ribb do the double over the team they played in the first match of the season.
Grovians are a much-improved side with some powerful backs and scored first from a scrum penalty, which they put into touch and made space for their powerful left winger to go over for an unconverted try.
Indeed the match would have been much closer if Grovians had a kicker, as they missed several penalties and conversions.
Ribb played away from the clubhouse in the first half with a fluctuating wind favouring both sides.
Grovians scored first after 25 minutes, but Ribb used the wind to put the visitors in their own 22.
Unwilling to kick into the strong wind they tried to run out of defence, but Nathan Harding intercepted a loose pass and went over. Mick Thwaite converted to make it 7-7 to Ribb.
Matt Speres, who had a very powerful game, collected the kick-off and made 40 yards into the 22, and Ray Fromm carried the ball on for Jim Tunney to plunge over for a converted try.
Ribb were now rampant, their back row completely on top winning the go forward ball allowing Adam Middleton to make some damaging carries culminating in Ian Close going over, which was converted by the impeccable Thwaite to give Ribb a 21-5 half-time lead.
Middleton carried on with his first half form, and he and Fromm took Ribb deep into the Grovians' 22.
They looked certain to score, but the visiting left wing took an interception and made 80 yards to score a converted try.
Ribb shrugged this off, coming straight back for Speres to score a deserved try, converted by Thwaite, to make it 28-12.
Ribb collected the kick-off and driving play took Ribb into the home 22, where Middleton drove for the line, flicked the ball out and centre Matthew Smith powered over for a final converted try.
This was a good final performance, and 17-year-old Kyle Handy impressed. He was out of position on the wing and up against Grovians' most powerful back but tackled very well.
Ribb scored several tries from deep and there is no doubt that an expansive game suites their light pack, and as ever the scrum was dominant and the line-out competitive.