Rishworthians unable unlock Crocs defence
Rishworthians made Old Crossleyans fight all the way, but they retained top spot in Yorkshire One with a five-point haul in a 26-5 win. The outcome was never in doubt after early scores from forwards Martin Hamer and Jack Pilcher had helped the visitors into a 12-0 lead. Injury-hit Rishworthians had plenty of possession and territory after that but became the latest side to find Crocs’ defence difficult to crack.
While Crocs have eight wins from nine outings, Rishworthians have only two successes from the same number of games. Player-coach Chris Stone felt his side had given the visitors too much respect early on but had stuck to the task and dug deep. He praised young back rowers Ethan Pollard and Toby Muscat-Baron and said he had no relegation concerns at this stage. “If we play like that week in week out we won’t have to worry,” he said.
Rishworthians had completed a double the last time the pair had met in Yorkshire Two a couple of seasons ago but Crocs, handling confidently, were soon prising the Peter Lighting Trophy from their grasp.
Hamer supported good work from Josh Hunt and Billy Hammond wide on the left to plunge over the try line inside three minutes. When Crocs’ young prop Jack Pilcher forced his way over near the foot of the right-hand post after 11 minutes and fullback Callum Dunne added the conversion, Rishworthians were facing a long and tricky afternoon.
However, play was centred in the Crocs’ half for the best part of 20 minutes after that. Errors at the lineout and breakdown frustrated the Copley men and the visitors’ outstanding scrum half Joe Stott launched two attacks which might have yielded further points for the visitors. Doug Heseltine’s superb tackle on fellow wingman Josh Hunt foiled the more dangerous of the raids.
Rishworthians’ best spell of handling was rewarded three minutes before the break when centre Jack Fairbank shoved off the final defender on the try line. Josh Kelly, who had missed an earlier penalty, was unable to add the conversion and Crocs quickly returned to the other end where Ellis Nuttall knocked on with the line gaping but replacement forward ‘Boj’ Sembi made no mistake from Stott’s clever reverse pass. Dunne converted for 5 – 19 lead at half-time.
Crocs soaked up pressure in the third quarter. Kelly missed another penalty was yellow carded on 67 minutes. Replacement winger Gareth Sweeney had a try ruled out for a forward pass but Rishworthians’ fullback Sam Bake’s attempt to clear his lines via a chip and chase brought a cruel bounce for the home men and led to Crocs centre Joel McFarlane exploiting space to score the bonus point try entering the last 10 minutes. Dunne converted.
Rishworthians pushed for a late score. Luke Flanagan who had stepped in at fly half made a fine break but his clever cross-field kick was just too strong for centre Ben Hinsley and lock Fraser Swarbrooke then almost made it to the posts, Stott earning a yellow card.
|1. P Kershaw||2. C Stone||3. R Mudd|
|6. E Pollard||7. T Muscat-Baron|
|4. C Heseltine||5. F Swarbrooke|
|8. G Rollings|
|9. C Cullimore|
|10. J Kelly|
|12. J Fairbank T|
|13. B Hinsley|
|11. D Heseltine||14. L Flanagan|
|15. S Bake|
|G Day||T Jowle||B Robinson|
Rishworthians v Crossleyans Slideshow.
click on photo to enlarge, move cursor onto enlarged photo then click on next to view more photos.