The first meeting against Aireborough in early November ended in a comprehensive victory for Rish. That day the visitors arrived with just 15 players, but this weekend, with no Yorkshire 3 fixture for the 1st XV, the squad had grown to 25. Rish on the other hand started with 3 under 18 Colts in the pack and 2 more at 9 and 10.
With recent foul weather the pitch was expectedly very heavy and muddy. The worst area was on the bottom side, and Aireborough showed their early intentions by keeping play in the mud and using their big pack to take them forward. Most of the early play was inside Rishies 22 but eventually scrum half Will McDonnell put in a lovely 40 metre kick in to touch to relieve the pressure.
Rish then began to play some good rugby, putting together some god phases, and eventually sending Rhys Town to the try line only to knock on in the tackle. Aireborough found it difficult to get out of their 22, due to a couple of charge downs by McDonnell and James McHugh. When the home side tried to run the ball out, McDonnell was on hand with a big tackle before getting over the ball and winning the penalty in front of the posts. Rhys Town stepped up and slotted the ball over for the first score.
The game had turned in to a war of attrition with the defences from both sides cancelling out any chances, but Aireborough got back on terms with an easy penalty of their own. It was obviously not going to be a high scoring game, but Rish did score next. A quick tap from McDonnell went wide on the 'dry side' to Town who managed to dive over in the corner. The conversion was missed, but moments later the home team infringed in front of the posts and Town slotted over his second penalty. At half time Rish led 11-3.
A couple of half time changes moved Liam Phillips to scrum half, Lee Atkinson to full back and Brad Fowles in to the pack. Aireborough began the half again playing in the mud on the bottom side, and it paid off for them when their winger was sent over by the flag.
Undeterred, the Rish boys upped their work rate and matched their opponents in every regards. Sam Bake at 10, and the centres of Kurt Sutcliffe and Joe Billing were running some great lines along with Will Illingworth on the wing, who seemed on his way to a try but for a superb tackle by the fullback. With just over an hour gone and Rish on the ascendancy, play went to the left and then back the opposite way to Sutcliffe who made good ground before passing to prop Wes Aldridge who trundled forward, drew his man, and gave a well timed pass to Will Illingworth to score unopposed. That proved to be a pivotal moment for Rish, Aireborough needing 2 scores, but they ground out the last few minutes to win 16-8.
A great game of rugby between two teams with different styles of play. Aireborough like to play a forward oriented game, where Rish prefer an expansive game, so the muddy, sticky conditions favoured the home side. Rishies forwards were immense against a much bigger pack, and the backs did well with the muddy ball. A well deserved victory keeping us still on top of the pile!
All the squad were outstanding, but special mention again must go to the second row pairing of Sam Rawnsley and James McHugh for their exceptional work rate around the park.
Tries: Rhys Town, Will Illingworth
Pens: Rhys Town(2)
MOM: Sam Rawnsley and James McHugh
|1. P.McCumiskey||2. L.Hilton||3. W.Aldridge|
|6. G. Day||7. B.Rooney|
|4. J McHugh||5. S.Rawnsley|
|10. S Bake|
|11. W.Illingworth T||14. R Town T P2|
|Subs M.Brooke||C Fox J.Radcliffe||B.Fowles||K.Hattam||L Atkinson|
Rishworthians v Aireborough Slideshow.
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