On a bitterly cold afternoon but with bright sunshine, Bridlington defeated North Ribblesdale 28-11 to secure a valuable home win.
Bridlington kicked off and a good kick and chase took the ball into the Bridlington half, with a knock on at the line out and a first scrum to the home team.
As play continued the cold conditions led to both sides losing and gaining possessioAfter a second scrum, a good kick by Bridlington high into the air proved difficult for the opposition to deal with.
Play proceeded to be shared until a kick brought a Ribblesdale lineout in the Bridlington half. A subsequent knock-on gave Bridlington a scrum, close to their own line, which they secured. A penalty to Bridlington at an ensuing ruck, with a good kick took them back into the opposition half.
After the resulting lineout and further play, Ribblesdale were caught offside, and Jack Arthur made no mistake with the kick for Bridlington to go 3-0 up.
From the restart, a Ribblesdale knock-on gave Bridlington possession, but with Will Davies clear the referee brought play back for the scrum. Play carried on, about equally shared until the best move of the match, saw good work by the forwards transferred to the backs and Davies bundled into touch a few metres from the line.
Play continued in Ribblesdale’s half until a Bridlington kick to the left wing proved too deep, so players were brought back for a scrum to Ribbledale. Play moved across the field and a curious incident saw a penalty to Ribblesdale apparently reversed, and from a kickable position Arthur was again successful to increase the home side’s lead to 6-0.
Both teams had suffered from handling errors in this first quarter.
After good work by Ribblesdale to get into Bridlington territory, they forced a penalty, well struck by the Ribblesdale kicker which brought the score to 6-3.
After the restart, Bridlington regained the ball and put the ball through a lot of phases, pressurising the opposition line until Ryan Girking was able to go over.
When Ribblesdale were ruled offside in their own half shortly afterwards, Arthur struck a good penalty to restore Bridlington to a lead of 14-3.
There was still a long period before half time, and Bridlington found themselves trapped in their own half, until they were judged offside, and a good kick into the left corner of the field led to a Ribblesdale line out dangerously close. A Bridlington infringement and decision to go for goal - successfully - gave a half-time score of 14-6.
At the restart, Bridlington were now facing the sun, but much more of the pitch was in shadow. Bridlington were to spend a lot of this half defending, and in the first 10 minutes, Ribblesdale worked the ball nearer to the Bridlington line, but the home team defended well.
An accurate kick brought Ribblesdale to within 10 metres of the Bridlington line, but Bridlington managed to secure the ball, and a ruck infringement decision gave them a penalty to put the ball into the opposition half and bring welcome relief.
Handling errors and penalties still plagued both sides as the second half continued, with a near interception by Davies not quite taken.
It was now Ribblesdale’s turn to hold on to possession, gaining ground solidly as they advanced through many phases. As they swung the ball through their back line close to the try line, Stevens knocked on and was judged to have done so deliberately, to be yellow carded.
At the ensuing penalty, Ribblesdale were able to take advantage of their one-man advantage, and good forward work took them over the line to make the score 14-11. The conversion was missed, much to Bridlington’s relief.
As the final 15 minutes or so approached, Bridlington had spent much of the half penned in their own half, until a ball steal and good run down the left wing resulted in an injury to Davies as he tried to stay out of touch, and he was replaced by Edmond.
Good work by the Bridlington forwards, mauling and scrummaging well meant that there was no further opposition score while Stevens was absent, but real penetration was still absent, a typical example being an ankle high pass and a consequent knock on ruining a promising move.
A moment of danger for Bridlington down the right wing was brought to a halt by a superb tackle.
Bridlington had now advanced play into the opposition half with increasing pressure from the forwards, the ball switched to the backs and a very well judged dink forward was gathered by Stevens, who had called for the move, and offloaded for Thompson to touch down.
A brilliant conversion by Arthur from close to the right touchline gave Bridlington a commanding lead of 21-11, with time running out.
Poor play after the restart by Ribblesdale left them stranded well into their own half, a mistake, a kick through, a brilliant chase by Bridlington, another error by the defence over their own line, and a touchdown for by Stevens.
Arthur celebrated with yet another fantastic wide out conversion to round off a remarkable last quarter.