Old Rishworthians got their Yorkshire Two campaign off to a flying start with a bonus point victory by 44-29 away to Sheffield Medicals.
While Medicals, who were one of the main promotion contenders last season, were not at their strongest, the visitors too were missing a number of key players.
Rishies put in a fine team performance though, scoring six tries and playing some exciting rugby.
But it was not all perfect, and coach Damian Ball knows there are a number of things to work on if his side is to progress.
Right from the start they were on top with fullback Matthew Hunt-Brown, on his return to the club, and new centre Taniela Bakoso showing some nice touches.
Rishworthians went behind to a penalty against the run of play but came straight back, moving the ball out from a scrum for Hunt-Brown to scythe through for the first of his two tries. Left wing Joe Billing converted.
Prop Ryan Mudd set the ball up well and it went out with Bakoso and fellow centre Kurt Sutcliffe combining well to put right wing Danny Hoyle over in the corner.
A strong tackle in the centre then forced a loose ball and Sutcliffe picked up and ran in wide out.
Coasting at 17–3, Rishworthians looked set for a further try until an interception brought a converted score for the home side.
It spurred Medicals and sustained pressure on the visitors’ line brought a penalty try and conversion to level the scores.
Just before the break a driving run by lock Luke Rawnsley took play near the home line before the ball went out for centre Bakoso to power over. Billing converted to make it 24–17 to the visitors at half-time.
Medicals opened the second half strongly, forcing Rishworthians back on to their own line and squeezing over for an unconverted try.
That seemed to inspire the visitors and they dominated play until near the end.
Billing extended the lead with two penalties, then Rishworthians scored a ‘team’ try, which started with good work by Bakoso’s brother Jioti, who had come on into the pack as a replacement.
It was taken on by several players before prop Phil Kershaw and No 8 Gerard Rollings combined to put Hunt-Brown in for his second try.
Billing converted and then forced a loose ball, kicked on and raced through to touch down and convert his own try.
Near the end the visitors eased off and allowed the home side to drive in for a converted bonus point try.