Fine defence earns Rishworthians a share of the spoils

New Rishworthians recruit Andrew Shickell
New Rishworthians recruit Andrew Shickell

Bradford Salem 15 Old Rishworthians 15

Defences can win games and it was almost that for Rishworthians at one of the Yorkshire Two promotion favourites.

Sporting two newcomers from rugby league in ex-Keighley Cougars Andy Shickell and former Halifax and Batley favourite Ben Black, the visitors showed how training can pay off.

Mistakes in defence brought defeat at home to Barnsley last week, but player-coach Damian Ball’s concentration in training on changing that was clear to see.

In a scoreless first half Rishworthians spent much of their time in defence. When they did win good possession, too often they managed to hand it straight back to the home side.

Early on Shickell made a good run out of defence and followed it with good work in attack, well supported by Ball and centre Taniela Bakoso.

Right wing Joe Billing narrowly missed with a penalty, but the home side turned down five penalty opportunities, opting for kicks to touch and catch and drive attempts.

On each occasion Rishworthians held them out with excellent defence and then good play by Bakoso and lock, brother Jioti, brought a kick ahead, the bounce of the ball going away from Black, with the line begging.

It was brilliant defence which kept the half scoreless, but the visitors finally succumbed early in the second half, when after a forward drive, a long floated pass saw the home right wing cross in the corner for a converted try.

Rishworthians hit straight back. Shickell broke through the middle, before getting the ball to Taniela Bakoso, who almost got to the line before slipping it to supporting scrum half Gary Morris, who dived over.

The teams then traded penalties, with Billing’s kick making it 10-8, before a forward drive brought Salem an unconverted try.

Black’s chip through was almost gathered by Billing and centre Matthew Hunt-Brown, but their efforts led to a penalty wide out. It was quickly taken and Ball put Black in on an angled run for a try. Billing added the conversion.

In the final seconds Rishworthians almost snatched it with a 20-yard driving maul, which was stopped just short of the line and brought the final whistle.

Rishworthians seconds won their WAW District League top of the table clash, blowing away Bradford Salem seconds 42-12 at Copley with a five try display of running rugby in the first quarter

Rhys Town scored a hat trick of tries and others came from Paul McCumiskey, Chris Fox and Gerard Rollings. Josh Kelly added two penalties and three conversions.