North Ribblesdale 15 v 19 Old Grovians (Yorkshire League Division Two)
North Ribblesdale returned to league action on Saturday as they entertained Old Grovians in a Yorkshire League Division Two fixture at Grove Park, it was the first competitive game to be held at the venue in five hundred and forty-six days due to the worldwide pandemic.
As the players took to the field the weather took a change for the worst as the rain poured down and didn’t stop for the whole match. North Ribblesdale made a number of changes with Callum Wilson, Richard Lynn, Adam Middleton & Will Both all out due to long term injuries, this gave an opportunity to some of the other squad members and the Colts.
Both teams showed some good attacking intent in the opening twenty minutes of the game but neither side managed to break through their opponents defensive line in order to score a try. North Ribblesdale did manage to take the lead, when Thwaites scored a penalty kick from around twenty meters on the left to give the home side a 3-0 lead.
Old Grovian’s responded well and just five minutes later fly-half Louis Anderson scored a penalty for the visitors to bring the scores level at 3-3. On twenty-fours minutes, with the visitors on top centre Anthony Griffin was held up over the line as Grovian’s continued to dominate the play in the Ribblesdale half. A few minutes later Anderson added his second penalty to give Grovians a 6-3 lead.
On the half hour, the visitors should have extended their lead when Innocent Mazhambe charged through two tackles into the Ribblesdale twenty-two before being hauled down just short of the try line after some excellent defensive work by North Ribblesdale. The tackle left Mazhambe injured and following treatment he was replaced by Jona Schmidt.
Louis Anderson added another penalty on thirty-five minutes, as the visitors extended their lead by a further three points to make the score 3-9. However, North Ribblesdale finished the stronger of the two sides with a number of attacks into the visitors half as the referee added twelve minutes injury time. During one of the attacks the visitors lost a second player when prop Will Robinson suffering an ankle injury and was replaced by Jack De’ath as the match reached half-time with the score at 3-9.
Sam Boatwright (Player Coach) must have given an inspirational team talk at half-time as North Ribblesdale came out for the second-half like a different team. The home side spent the first ten minutes of the second-half camped in the Old Grovian’s half and should have taken the lead, but for some excellent defending by the visitors.
On sixty minutes, Louis Anderson and Paddy Ziegler made a break into the Ribblesdale half and the all-time Grovian’s try scorer Griffin was on hand to take the pass and shrug off three tackles to put the ball down over the line and extend the lead to 3-14. Louis Anderson then converted to increase the visitors lead to 3-16.
North Ribblesdale continued to battle until the final whistle and they gave themselves some hope on seventy minutes when a forward surge saw Ian Close score a try to make the score 8-16. However, Thwaites failed to add to the scoreline missing the conversion which left the visitors two scores and eight points ahead.
The visitors were then awarded another penalty on seventy-five minutes, with Anderson scored increasing the visitors lead to 8-19. The visitors, then lost a man with two minutes remaining when Sam Dodd was shown a yellow card as Old Grovian’s were penalised.
In the very last move in the match Adam Stubbs forced his way over the try line from a line out to bring the score back to 13-19, before Michael Thwaites added the conversion to make the full-time score 15-19.
Speaking after the match Old Grovians manager Andy Hinchliffe said, Just like last week, the team spirit shone through in the great second half defensive effort. The commitment and effort from every player was outstanding, they gave 100% for the full match and you can’t ask your players for more”.
North Ribblesdale – Stubbs, I.Close, J.Thwaite, Willsher, Boatwright, Robinson, A.Thwaite, Marshall, Sumner, Wallbank, Depledge, Coutherd, Firth (Subs) Hewitt, Brown, Davidson
Old Grovians – Robinson, Driver, Kvedas, Dodd, Mazhambe, Neal, Mahon, Blackhall, Brown, Anderson, Evans, Griffin, Ziegler, Butler, Kennedy (Subs) Schmidt, Devittoris, De’ath
Scorers – (North Ribblesdale) Tries – I.Close, Stubbs Conversions – M.Thwaite Penalty – M.Thwaite (Old Grovians) Tries – Griffin Conversions -Anderson Pentalties – Anderson (4)
Attendance – 80