Old Rishworthians put in a Jekyll and Hyde performance against a North Ribblesdale side who never gave up, winning 38-29 at Copley in Yorkshire One yesterday.
They were 21-0 up after only 12 minutes and 31-14 ahead at half-time, but the visitors refused to lie down and almost snatched two points with the last kick of the game, a conversion attempt, the only one missed by Ribb stand-off Michael Thwaite.
At times Rishworthians were brilliant, but at others they floundered in the face of excellent tackling from the visitors.
They kicked off and managed to gain possession with flanker Chris Flanagan and left wing Anthony Shoesmith taking them close. The ball came out to the forwards and prop Harry Whitfield and flanker Harvey Keighley-Payne made inroads before lock Fraser Swarbrooke crashed over. Josh Kelly converted.
Within minutes they were almost over again from a lineout. From the ensuing scrum, man of the match Keighley-Payne gathered a loose ball and dived over. Kelly again converted.
Rishworthians soon added to their tally with Swarbrooke taking the ball at a lineout and being driven over, Whitfield making the touchdown.
Kelly converted to give what looked like an unassailable lead, but the visitors had other ideas, coming back strongly and pinning Rishworthians in their own half.
Rishworthians did break out after No 8 Jack Andrews stole the ball at a lineout and a good move in the backs ended with fullback Luke Flanagan going close.
It was only temporary as the visitors put them under pressure, hooker Ian Close getting their reward with a converted try.
Rishworthians were giving away too many penalties and Swarbrooke was yellow carded as Ribb scored again, prop Matthew Close completing a pick and go converted try.
The home side got their game back together towards the end of the half and forced a penalty near the visitors’ line. Right wing Ben Wainwright was first to react, taking it quickly and diving over for the bonus point try. Kelly converted and added a penalty with the last kick of the half.
The second half saw the visitors in command for much of the time and scrum half David Fox, who was a thorn in Rishworthians’ side throughout, was quick to dive to the bottom of the post for a third converted try before a successful penalty put the Ribb into losing bonus-point territory.
The home side raised their game again and in a sustained attack Wainwright was first stopped short and then judged held up over the line.
The pressure was maintained and Keighley-Payne put in a strong run to score his second try. Kelly converted.
Ribb were not done and at the end Fox picked up a loose ball and jinked his way over for a bonus-point try although the missed conversion meant no losing bonus point.
Although somewhat relieved Rishworthians were happy to beat their opponents for a third time this season and notch up another bonus-point win.
Rishworthians’ Development team went down 39-10 to league leaders West Leeds. Sam Bake and Kurt Sutcliffe got the visitors’ tries.