Rugby Union: Ripon 7-35 Moortown

Ripon Rugby's club's Sam Britton (Photo by Dave Naylor)
Ripon Rugby's club's Sam Britton (Photo by Dave Naylor)

Ripon Rugby Club’s three-game winning streak came to an end as Leeds side Moortown asserted their authority at Mallorie Park on Saturday.

Moortown ran out 35-7 winners to extend their own unbeaten run to nine matches.

The Leeds outfit have been playing catch up on the Yorkshire Two leaders from the opening whistle after they were hit with a 20-point deduction at the start of the season.

However, they have been one of the top teams and completed the double over Ripon with a comprehensive victory.

Scott McAra had a welcome return to the Blues line-up with prop Dom Dalby also stepping in to give added beef in the scrum.

Teenage scrum half James McDaniel drew plaudits with a sparking performance at half-back, while Euan Findlay and Mark Spilman also earned praise for their defensive work.

The first half started with both sides sounding each other out and Moortown eager to exploit their immediately apparent dominance of the scrum.

Some testing breaks came from Jason Bell and Rob Harrison, but it was Moortown who were first on the scoreboard after 11 minutes when their right wing came in on a fine line to score under the posts.

The Moortown fly-half added the first of his five conversions in what was the start of a fine display of his mastery of all aspects of the game.

The rest of the first half was more of the same.

Two Moortown tries came from penalty kicks to touch, followed by routine line out catch and drives.

Their other try from close support in open play.

In danger of opening the floodgates, Ripon closed down the remaining few minutes of the half and restricted the visitors to their bonus point earning four tries and turn around 28-0 down.

The second half was much more evenly matched as Ripon were better organised in defence and established some continuity in possession and ball retention.

The scrum eventually calmed down for Ripon and McDaniel was able to make some breaks and set the back line running.

On 53 minutes, Moortown broke the deadlock with a passage of inter-passing up the middle of the pitch, for a further converted try.

The next few minutes were all Ripon, with some intense pressure on the visitors, forcing them to defend comprehensively.

With five minutes left of the clock, Ripon clinched a line-out and out of nowhere, Euan Findlay appeared screaming down the touchline to outpace the winger in a 40 metre dash to touch down in the corner.

Tom Leeming stepped up to calmly stroke the conversion over from the touchline.

This Saturday, Ripon travel to seventh-placed Old Rishworthians who beat Ripon 31-7 when the two teams met at Mallorie Park in November.

Rishworthians beat Goole 34-15 last Saturday.