By JUST H JOHNSON
Ripon Win times 3 ?
Northallerton first team suffered a shock away defeat at relegation facing Ripon by a score of 25-16.
With Ripon second from bottom of Yorkshire 2 and North third from top, many expected an away win for the Northallerton outfit. Ripon however, produced a tremendous second half fight back, full of courage, desire and gusto.
North controlled most of the first half, with ex Ripon fly half Ashley Rio pulling the strings for North, continually pinning Ripon back in their own half.
With only eight minutes on the clock, a flowing backs move which left the Ripon defence static, released Sam Taylor into space out wide. Taylor then shipped the ball to Jonny Frank who scored in the corner. Rio adding the conversion from a difficult angle.
North went close to scoring again soon after, but Taylor was adjudged to have done a ‘double movement’ to touch down. After twenty minutes North then suffered a telling injury when Taylor had to be replaced due to a injury caused by Hoppys nose nearly taking his eye out!
Soon after there was concern when Sandy Gray and Jonny Frank collided in midfield chasing a high ball. Frank was ok to continue but Gray had to leave the field for some tlc from his fiancé.
Despite Norths attacking threat being nullified slightly, North still increased their lead thanks to three very well taken penalties from Rio. Two of the afore mentioned penalties being close to the half way line but still brilliantly dispatched.
Half time 0-16 to Northallerton.
North had the worst possible start to the second half, when after only two minutes they suffered not only an injury to influential talisman Doug Mulholland, but also conceded a converted try in the process.
Just to show the earlier collision wasn’t a fluke, Sandy Gray again collided with a team mate chasing a high ball, this time it was poor Ben James who received the unfortunate bruises while Gray again went off for a cuddle with Emily.
Ripon now had their tails up and proceeded to dominate possession and territory. Their possession paid off fifteen minutes into the second half when JP Coyne was yellow carded for deliberate offside - much to the amusement of the home crowd, and Ripon converted the ensuing penalty.
Five minutes later a cross field kick caught North napping allowing the Ripon winger to score a unconverted try in the corner and go only one point behind.
Ripon however were soon in front thanks to a easy penalty after twenty five minutes of the second half due to North being offside.
North then began to fold under the pressure of the Ripon attacks, and with only ten minutes left, North failed to clear their lines which allowed the home team to go over for a converted try and put Ripon nine points ahead.
North tried in vain in the last few minutes to reduce the arrears but Ripon held strong for the deserved win.
At the end, the spectators were left wondering what ‘could have been’ for Ripon if they had shown this much passion and desire during the rest of the season.
Norths man of the match was awarded to Ashley Rio.
Next week North have their final home league game of the season against North Ribblesdale with a 3pm kick off.
Northallerton seconds fell to defeat at home to Ripon seconds by a score of 36-57.
Norths points probably came from tries from Tom Rennison(2), Paul Dixon, Harry O’Conner, Adam Marsden and Simon Warren. Plus three conversions by Brian Tucker.
Next week North seconds are are scheduled to play Moortown at home.
To finish off a frustrating day for Northallerton, Norths Ladies also fell to a defeat from Ripon Ladies by a score of 43-7. Norths player of the match was awarded to Heather Coombes.
Again, these thoughts are my own and not necessarily shared by all at NRUFC, so please contact myself if offended.