Old Rishworthians 12 West Park Leeds 26
Rishworthians received a lesson in scrum power from Yorkshire Two promotion favourites West Park, but otherwise it was an even game, with the home backs far outshining their counterparts.
But it was the dominance of the powerful West Park front five which proved telling in the second half, with two penalty tries coming from pushover attempts.
Rishworthians scored the best two tries of the game and were unlucky not to get a third, and a losing bonus point, as they pressed hard in the last 10 minutes.
At 5-0 to West Park at half-time it looked anybody’s game, but the visitors changed their tactics in the second period and played to their strength up front.
The home side opened the game strongly, but could not break through the visitors’ defence and they brought the ball out well and forced an unconverted try in the corner from a driving maul.
The remainder of the half was fairly even, with Rishworthians perhaps having the edge. Twice they might have scored, but chose the wrong side to play.
But their backs looked dangerous and there were some strong carries from the forwards, particularly Andy Shickell and Nick Faulkner.
With the last play of the half, player coach Damian Ball put in a sweeping move and a fine kick to touch right on the visitors’ line, only for the whistle to go for the break.
Within five minutes of the restart Rishworthians found themselves defending a series of scrums on their own line and the penalty try proved inevitable.
They fought back and a long kick by the visitors was gathered in his own half by left wing Anthony Shoesmith. He put in a searing 60-yard run and then unselfishly passed out to flanker Gerard Rollings, who dived over wide out.
Hardly had Rishworthians got back into the game when they went further behind, forward power bringing a converted try from a catch and drive.
Undeterred they came back again. Centre Taniela Bakoso put in some strong runs and fullback Matthew Hunt-Brown got his backs moving whenever he got chance.
Then, although going backwards in the scrum, Shickell managed to get the ball out and it led to interpassing between forwards and backs with flankers Rollings and Fraser Swarbrooke proving the links for centre Kurt Sutcliffe to finish off a fine team try. Joe Billing added the conversion.
At 12-19, the game could have swung in the home side’s favour until another penalty try from a scrum sealed it for the visitors and, despite a spirited last 10 minutes, there was no reward for Rishworthians.
At Keighley, Rishworthians seconds won 24-19 with tries by Chris Cowie, Rhys Town, Josh Illingworth and Cameron Duffy and two conversions from Josh Kelly.