Flurry of cards mars victory
In a game littered with yellow cards, Rishworthians put in a gritty performance on a heavy pitch to win 41-14 at Ripon in Yorkshire Two.
After eight yellow cards – four for each side – and one Ripon player seeing red for his second in the game, it meant the last 10 minutes were played out with both teams desperately trying to end with a full complement.
The home side failed to achieve it and ended with 13 players. Rishworthians were down to 12 at one point after referee Jeff Hudson gave them three yellow cards within five minutes.
It was a repeat of the three he gave them in as many minutes when he took charge of their home game with West Park Leeds in November.
The visitors started the game between two top four sides well. Teenage centre Sam Nunn was almost through and captain Fraser Swarbrooke, who dominated the lineout, was stopped short after a fine break.
The front five had an excellent game and were on top in the scrums, pushing Ripon off the ball several times.
From a scrum near the home line, No 8 James Clarke touched down only to see it ruled out by the referee.
Finally, from another good lineout take, fullback Jacob Ford broke through before the ball was switched across and flanker Nick Faulkner took the final pass to score wide out. Fly half Josh Kelly kicked a fine conversion.
Suddenly, as Ripon restarted, they were down to 14 when without warning Faulkner was despatched to the bin after a maul collapsed in the Rishworthian 22.
Undeterred, the visitors cleared their lines and a great kick from Kelly earned a lineout deep in the home 22. From a long throw the ball went loose and scrum half Ed Cockroft was quick to pounce and score. Kelly added the conversion.
Ripon were determined and put the visitors under extreme pressure, eventually breaking through to score a converted try.
Back to a full complement, Rishworthians began to dominate and Ripon saw yellow twice, allowing Kelly to add two penalties.
Centres Taniela Bakoso and Nunn combined well before the ball went to ground to end the half.
Leading 20-7, Rishworthians opened the second half with a textbook move. The ball came out from a scrum on the left and left wing Anthony Shoesmith looped round to score in the right corner. Kelly added a fine conversion.
Suddenly the visitors found themselves down to 14 men, then 13 and finally 12 as Cockroft was despatched and a converted penalty try awarded as they tried to fend off Ripon on their own line.
Rishworthians held on as gradually their players returned and then started to renew the pressure on Ripon.
Bakoso broke through several tackles in a strong run before getting the ball to supporting centre Nunn, who scythed through to score the bonus point try, converted by Kelly.
Rishworthians tried to take up time, and avoid another yellow card, with an unsuccessful long range penalty attempt, but as the light became gloomier and gloomier so did Ripon spirits as they saw yellow twice, one turning to red.
The visitors took advantage with a final try, the ball being moved down the blind side from a scrum for replacement Joe Billing to touch down in the corner.
Kelly completed a brilliant game with the boot, adding a fine conversion from the touchline.