Tough-tackling Rishies go second

Pontefract v Old Rishworthians

Chris Stones and Jack Smart
Pontefract v Old Rishworthians Chris Stones and Jack Smart

It might not have been Rishworthians’ best performance of the season so far, but the 20-12 win at Pontefract was certainly their best result.

It meant they leapfrogged their previously unbeaten opponents to move into second place in Yorkshire Two.

It proved a tough, niggly game in which Rishworthians showed their attacking potential in patches and defended superbly, denying their hosts opportunities.

Penalties pegged back the visitors, but they were the only team which looked likely to score. They ran in three tries and crossed the line for a fourth but were called back by the referee.

Rishworthians appeared to have ground out a 15–12 victory until a moment of magic in the final minutes.

Jacob Ford, who had switched to scrum half from fullback, put in a superb overhead box kick and right wing Matthew Hunt-Brown outpaced his opposing wing in an exciting 40-metre sprint to touch down.

There was just time for the restart and Rishworthians gathered the ball well and put it into touch to end the game.

Rishworthians won little possession. While their set piece worked well, Pontefract were better at the breakdown.

The visitors’ defence, however, was superb and the home side never really looked like breaking through, although penalties kept them in the game.

Pontefract threw everything at Rishworthians from the start, but had to be content with just a single penalty.

Two penalties took the visitors near the home line and with their first real attack they scored.

Captain Fraser Swarbrooke took a fine lineout catch and the pack drove him to the line. While they were initially split, they regrouped and trundled over with No 8 James Clarke touching down. Josh Kelly added the conversion.

Rishworthians held firm as the home side pressed, but conceded penalties, which led to a further nine points to make it 12-7 at half-time.

The Copley men seemed unable to get their normal flowing game together, but they exerted pressure from the restart and reduced the arrears with a Kelly penalty.

They then declined a couple of penalty attempts and Kelly crossed the line, only to be called back for crossing.

Pressure was maintained, however, and a pushover try was completed by Clarke.

As time dwindled away it looked like the last score as Pontefract were unable to break through outstanding tackling, particularly from Clarke, Hunt-Brown, hooker Jack Smart and centre Taniela Bakoso.

With time almost up though Ford put in the kick and Hunt-Brown did the rest to deny the hosts a losing bonus point.

It was a great boost for Rishworthians, who next week entertain leaders Moortown.

Rishworthians’ dominant development team missed out on a game with a late cry-off from Wharfedale.