Old Rishworthians, the only one of Calderdale’s six rugby union clubs in league action yesterday, lost 29-20 away to Hullensians in Yorkshire One.
The fixture, postponed a fortnight earlier due to a waterlogged pitch, was the first between the two clubs since 2013-14 season when both teams were in Yorkshire Two. Hullensians were promoted that season and Rishworthians last season.
The pitch was in good condition and whilst there was a slight chill factor the conditions were ideal for rugby.
Oliver Marshall started on the right wing for the visitors with Sam Bake moving to centre. Jack Andrews was unwell and his place was taken by Gerrard Rollings. Chris Stone was a replacement and Philip Kershaw started at hooker. Oliver Scrimshaw replaced the unavailable Edward Cockroft.
After five minutes it was clear that ‘Ensians were up the match and from a penalty kick to the corner, the lineout was won and hooker Andy Vernon dived over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Rishworthians were losing set piece ball and it was only when Marshall and Harvey Keighley-Payne combined with the backs that pressure was put upon the home side. This resulted in a penalty by Josh Kelly which hit an upright and was cleared.
After another lost lineout Chris Harding kicked upfield for the home team and it was only good defensive work by Harry Whitfield and Scrimshaw that saved the day. However, from a scrum on the visitors 22 the ball was moved to the blind side and Josh Abbott scored in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Kelly then kicked a penalty and Rishworthians started to win more ball. Whitfield produced a strong run near the club house, swatting away Hullensian players.
Together with Josh Crickmay the two props made good ground through the middle. The ball moved to the right and Sam Bake and Oliver Marshall combined well after a kick ahead for Marshall to score in the corner for a try which was not converted by Kelly to make it 10-8. With Stone on the field, the lineouts started functioning and Keighley Payne caused problems for the visitors.
Hullensians stretched their lead three minutes after the break. Following a lineout and driving maul, the ball was released to Chris Smith who ran across the field beating defenders and scoring a try under the posts which he converted.
The home forwards took control for a short period and camped in the visitors 22. Following a penalty at the lineout and a 10 metre drive the referee gave a penalty try to Hullensians.
At 24-8 the game appeared to be moving away from the visitors but the forwards had other ideas and following a lineout on the far touchline the ball was passed to Rollings, who dived over in the corner for a try which was not converted.
Feeling more confident, Rishworthians started to move the ball effectively and Keighley-Payne beat three defenders to score a try near the posts which was converted by Kelly.
At 24-20 the game was going Rishworthians’ way and after a home yellow card, the accurate passing and runs by Fraser Swarbrooke and Callum Heseltine started making inroads into the ‘Ensians half.
However, following a further rolling maul a try was scored by Smith, to leave the visitors’ empty handed.