Rishworthians forced to dig deep

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Aireborough 16 Old Rishworthians 22

Ring rusty Old Rishworthians clung on at the end with some determined defence to extend their lead at the top of Yorkshire Three to 16 points.

When the sides met in September at Copley, Rishworthians won with the last kick of the match. This time they had to defend on their own line for five minutes at the end to deny the home team.

They had struggled in the scrums throughout and on a heavy pitch found it difficult to hold the home pack.

Near the end, having survived a forward melee over their line, which the referee ruled as held up, they faced a five metre scrum under the posts.

The home side won the ball but skipper Gary Morris and his back row were quick to harass and forced a knock-on which ended the game.

The first half had belonged to Rishworthians and while they scored three tries, it might have been five or six.

Dropped or forward passes and a dropped ball over the line denied them certain tries, but they ended the first period leading 19-8 after the home side clawed back a penalty with the last act of the half.

The visitors might have scored within two minutes, when left wing Anthony Shoesmith was put in the clear only to be called back for what was ruled a forward pass.

He was on hand soon after to gather a Josh Kelly kick, but his inside pass went to ground.

Despite their early pressure, Rishworthians were caught offside and a quickly taken penalty saw a try in the corner.

Undeterred the visitors fought back and a strong run through midfield by Shoesmith set up a ruck, with the ball popping up for flanker Chris Dyson to score wide out and level the scores.

Within minutes Rishworthians were ahead. Stand-off Kelly threaded a superb kick through the home defence for fullback Aaron Canning to run on to and touch down. Canning converted his own try.

Just before the break a strong drive by No 8 James Clarke set up the position for the ball to be moved wide and centre Kurt Sutcliffe coasted over. Canning added the conversion, but the home side hit back with a penalty to end the half.

The second half opened with Aireborough in determined mood and after great forward pressure they forced another try in the corner.

Rishworthians spent much of the second half on the defence, but always looked dangerous when they broke out.

On one occasion they forced their way into the home half through great work by the forwards, with prop Reuben Pollard, who had an outstanding game, particularly prominent. It resulted in a penalty, which Canning kicked to give them an important cushion.

The home side came back to take three points with a penalty and then put the visitors under extreme pressure on their own line, but superb defence held them out.