Rishies handing out gifts

Player-coach Damian Ball scored Rishworthians' try
Player-coach Damian Ball scored Rishworthians' try

Christmas came early in Leeds, courtesy of Old Rishworthians who were beaten 24-13 at Roundhegians yesterday.

The visitors twice shot themselves in the foot in this Yorkshire Two game.

They gave themselves an uphill task with their first gift almost straight from the kick-off.

They failed to secure possession from the kick, missed a chance to clear their line and then conceded a scrum, from which the No 8 powered over.

The conversion left them trailing by seven points, but it provided a wake-up call and the Copley men dominated the next 20 minutes with some of their best attacking rugby of the season.

Props Reuben Pollard and Ryan Mudd and lock Jioti Bakoso continually powered forward and No 8 James Clarke provided the link between forwards and backs.

It led to a penalty and fullback Joe Billing added the three points.

The visitors worked their way back upfield from the restart with more flowing play.

Scrum half Gary Morris darted through, but was held up short. The ball came out and coach Damian Ball ran in under the posts. Billing’s conversion giving Rishworthians the lead.

Just when they were beginning to look comfortable, though, the home side hit back. A through kick was hacked on by a home forward, who appeared well offside, and he ran on to touch down.

The visitors then had to defend with Morris making a try-saving tackle, but on the stroke of half-time they conceded again.

They lost the ball in a scrum near their line. It appeared to have wheeled more than 90 degrees, but play continued and the left winger squeezed over in the corner to give Roundhegians a 17–10 lead at the break.

Rishworthians opened the second half strongly and Billing reduced the arrears with a penalty.

The visitors were looking strong but tossed the ball away needlessly in the tackle to a home player, who strolled in for a simple converted try.

The Copley men battered the home line to the end, but determined defence held them out, the referee ruling that Bakoso hadn’t got the ball down over the line.

Fortunately for Rishworthians the other teams around them in the lower reaches of the division lost, except for West Leeds, who visit Copley next week.