Ripon RUFC head coach Richard Dixon reckons confidence has returned to Mallorie Park after his side salvaged a vital win on Saturday.
Tries from Jason Bell and Ashley Rio helped the toiling Blues battle past bottom-side Baildon 13-5 in “impossible” conditions at Mallorie Park.
The win curbed the second-bottom club’s three-match losing streak in Yorkshire Two and brought them within 12 points of Saturday’s opponents Knottingley, who lie one place above them.
Knottingley will arrive at Mallorie Park having lost just one of their last four matches, and fresh from a postponement at Sheffield Medics on Saturday.
But Ripon edged Knottingley 9-8 earlier this season. And Dixon believes his side can draw confidence from past performances to build a momentous run until the season end.
“On our day, we know we have the beating of most sides in this division.
“We certainly have the beating of Knottingley as we have sneaked a win by one point at their place earlier in the season.
“It’s a case of delivering again. Hopefully last Saturday the penny dropped and the boys realised it’s up to us.
“We have to make sure that our survival remains in our hands.
“That’s the only acceptable outcome. If it gets taken out of our hands, it’s off.
“A win against Knottingley would be a big step. It’s quite clear which teams we need to win against.”
Ripon were denied an early lead against Baildon when the referee disallowed a try due to a forward pass.
But the home side did earn an advantage when Scott McAra slotted over a penalty.
Ripon settled into a better groove and their continued pressure told as Jason Bell crossed over in the corner for a great try.
Scoring remained difficult on the churned-up pitch. The hosts were made to wait until the 70th minute to extend their lead when Ashley Rio plunged over from a driving maul.
Baildon then picked up a consolation try in over time, but the result had already been secured.
Dixon saluted his side’s performance especially props Ashley Plant and Will Champion for their efforts in the scrum.
“The conditions were atrocious,” added Dixon.
“The second-half it was impossible to play any sort of rugby. It became impossible to handle the ball and pass it one metre. Any form of kick it, you could forget it.
“They scored in like the tenth minute of injury time. Up to that point, we kept them out.
“That’s a massive tribute to everybody’s defence in those conditions.
“It was a team effort and it had to be. Nothing else would have been acceptable.”