KLRUFC Junior Colts v North Ribblesdale Junior Colts match report - 20/12/20
Kirkby welcomed North Ribblesdale to Underley Park for what was the first game of rugby to be played since March. There were obviously some rule variations to adapt to but it was great to be back to some sort of normality (who knows for how long) and see some fantastic Colts rugby, especially after all the hard work the lads have put in during difficult circumstances over the last couple of months.
Ribb kicked off towards the club house with the wind behind them and kept Kirkby under constant pressure, an early penalty set the tone as the Ribb 10 opted to go for goal from just inside the Kirkby 10 metre line, a good kick with plenty of distance but it was pulled wide. Another penalty shortly after was pushed the other side but he was starting to get his eye in.
Kirkby defence was strong and well organised and Ribb struggled to get over the gain line but carried well and retained possession. The constant pressure led to Kirkby defenders straying offside to try and gain dominance in the tackle but the referee was on the ball, a couple of penalties later and Kirkby were 6-0 down as the first quarter came to a close.
The second quarter followed a similar pattern to the first, Ribb were playing with confidence, their 10 put them in the right areas of the field and their strong well organised pack kept Kirkby on the defensive.
There were glimpses of what Kirkby could do in attack but they weren’t able to put enough phases together to worry Ribb.
The second quarter came to a close with a Ribb line out some 5 metres from the Kirkby line. A clever call saw the jumper and lifting pod move back, making space at the front for the Ribb 6 to run round, receive the ball from the Hooker and crash over for the opening try. There was some debate as to whether or not the ball had travelled 5 metres but regardless, it was a well worked move and on the balance of play Ribb deserved to extend their lead but Kirkby were very much still in it.
Kirkby Lonsdale 0 - 11 North Ribblesdale
Kirkby got the second half (third quarter) underway and came out with real intent, putting good phases together and playing some good rugby. It had been mentioned during the break that we were playing too close to the ruck and allowing Ribb to dictate the pace of the game. The lads took this on board, upped the pace, kicked better, simplified the line out and played with a bit more width and aggression, Ribb couldn’t live with Kirkby playing at full tilt and the momentum was beginning to swing.
The first points of the second half were Kirkby’s, following a period of disciplined attack on the Ribb line, Hooker Ben Dhillon burrowed over from short range to dot the ball down, the conversion was wide but Kirkby had closed the gap (5 - 11).
Kirkby were full of confidence and playing all the rugby. Close to the North Ribb line
more good forward play saw Sam Mason power through numerous attempted tackles to go over for Kirkby’s second try, the conversion by Angus Knight gave Kirkby the lead for the first time in the game (12 - 11).
The game had evened out and settled down a bit with neither team gaining the upper hand until during a Kirkby attack in midfield the ball was intercepted by a Ribb player who raced away to score, the conversion was successful and the lead had changed hands again (12 - 18).
Under the posts the lads were positive, Captain Will Baines gathered the troops, calmed things down and they kicked off determined to put things right. It didn’t take long.
All the rugby was being played in the Ribb half as Kirkby’s superior fitness began to show.
More good attacking play saw Kirkby Fullback James Week (usually a Flanker) dart over for the third try, the conversion missed (17 - 18) but it was game on and Kirkby were in the ascendancy.
There were rumblings on the touch line that Kirkby may have left it too late and Ribb would hang on. Our lads were having none of that and after more sustained pressure on the Ribb line, Captain & Centre Will Baines (usually No.8) crashed over from close range to give Kirkby the lead for the first time in the game with only 3 minutes still to play, the conversion was missed (22 - 18) but cool heads were required.
Ribb kicked off, Kirkby collected the restart but Ribb managed to turn the ball over and put Kirkby under immense pressure. As they’d done all afternoon, the lads dug in and another impressive effort in defence forced a penalty at the breakdown which was calmly belted in to touch (much to the delight of the players & relief of the coach’s).
Kirkby Lonsdale 22 - 18 North Ribblesdale
The final whistle arrived just as the weather moved in and the lads retreated for a shower.
This was an excellent game of rugby played by two very good teams with very little between them. All being well we look forward to the return fixture in the New Year.
I must also mention, due to a number of our backs being unavailable, Kirkby only had 16 players to North Ribbs 22. A huge thank you to those lads who were willing to do what/play where was necessary, this spirit and camaraderie went a long way towards getting the victory.
A huge thank you also to all the parents, we appreciate that things are difficult at the moment but your support throughout the weeks and getting the lads to training is greatly appreciated.
And finally, thank you very much to Kate and the Orange Tree team for providing the food for both teams at such short notice.
Merry Christmas & we look forward to a much brighter 2021.