West Yorkshire League: Ripon City relegated for second successive season
Ripon City's drop into the lowest tier of the West Yorkshire League was confirmed following an 8-1 mauling at high-flying Sherburn White Rose on Saturday.
City’s status as the worst team in Division One was all-but confirmed as their faint survival hopes became mathematically impossible.
Despite four games remaining before the season draws to a climax, Micky Baldwin’s side are now 18 points behind fourth bottom Kippax and certain for the drop in Division Two.
The 2015/16 campaign has been a year of transformation at Mallorie Park with several members of the committee, including chairman Sue Dennison, quitting the club at the turn of the year.
Asssitant manager Dan Metcalfe was adamant the club would arrest their slide down the football hierarchy but put no timescale on a return to former glories.
Metcalfe said: “It’s disappointing but we have a bright future ahead moving forward.
“This year has been a tough year with major changes at the club, with the majority of the committee leaving.
But we are a young, committed committee and we will be looking to move the club forward. Relegation is obviously not a forward step but we are trying to get things right off the field to make the club better for the players.
“It will be a tough ask to come straight back up and we are not setting any targets to say we will be back. It’s just about getting the team back on board and moving forward. We have to try and stabilise ourselves in Division Two and see what the future brings.”
Metcalfe believes the resignation of the club’s reserve team at the start of the season was a crucial indicator to the first team’s struggles.
“We were struggling for numbers for years, even when we were doing okay in the Premier League but we didn’t do anything about it.
“Now it’s biting us back because we are struggling with one team. There’s no competition for places and we are picking up niggly injuries all the time with no one to replace the players.”
Requiring a dramatic turnaround in their survival battle, Ripon’s chances were demolished within 20 minutes of Saturday’s North Yorkshire derby.
Sherburn carried their promotion seeking momentum to lead 5-0 at the break and they added three more goals in the second half.
Ripon’s only moment of respite came courtesy of Kyle Fox in the latter stages.
Despite a nightmare season at the bottom of the table, Ripon could still finish the season with a piece of silverware with the Whitworth Cup final against Beckwithshaw Saints scheduled for May 12 at Knaresborough Town.
That clash will be a motivating factor for players to earn their shirts over the last four matches of the season, starting with a trip to second bottom Thornhill this weekend.