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01

MAR

Old Rishworthians 12 - 9 Halifax Vandals Rishworthians revenge after defeat at Warley

Match Preview Friday 27th February
Rishworthians' rearranged game with local rivals Halifax Vandals takes on even great significance than when the clubs met in an abortive game a month ago. Then the match was abandoned after less than 30 minutes because of an injury to the referee. Since then the weather has intervened, but the clubs had contrasting fortunes on their resumption of league fixtures last week. Rishworthians' win over bottom club Burley maintained their three-point advantage at the top of the division, with two games in hand over the chasing clubs. Vandals, however, will want to get their promotion drive back on track after defeat at fellow promotion contenders Thornensians.

While Rishworthians have home advantage, games between the sides are notoriously close. Vandals will be relying on their power in the pack to upset the Copley men, but Rishworthians' pack has been playing particularly well lately and will relish the task. The home side welcome back to their squad six of the eight players who were missing for last week's win. They include forwards Jioti Bakoso, Anthony Oxley, James Clarke and Ben Robinson and in the backs Richard Wild and Nick Faulkner. They will be without injured hooker Dave Morris, who left the field with a serious hand injury last week, and flanker Tom Clough, who is unavailable.

The game will be played for the John Payne Trophy and is sponsored by Copley Cricket Club, for whom Rishworthians' prop Richard Turner is captain. It will be the start of a difficult run-in to the end of the season for Rishworthians, who have yet to play all five of the clubs immediately below them in the division.

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Match report Saturday 28th February Yorkshire 4
Rishworthians title hopes were given a real boost by this win, while it put a massive dent in local rivals Vandals' promotion challenge. It was close, tough and not very pretty. A draw might have been a fair result, but neither side looked likely to score a try if they played until Christmas. The defences cancelled each other out throughout, with the tackling on both sides being ferocious. In the end it was down to the boots of Aaron Canning for Rishworthians and Paul Knapping for Vandals that the scoreboard was troubled.

The fact the game went ahead at all was down to referee's assessor David Brooksbank, who stepped in at the last minute when the scheduled official failed to turn up. Both sides afterwards complimented the newly retired referee on his handling of the match. The game had been rearranged after the referee in the original fixture had to leave the field with a leg injury and abandoned proceedings after 29 minutes.

Rishworthians started off strongly and soon put Vandals under pressure. Just when it looked as if the home side might break through, Vandals centre Jon Isherwood put in a crunching tackle on Rishworthians' fullback Joe Billing. But barely a minute later Billing was back on hand with some neat defensive work to save Rishworthians as the visitors threatened. Knapping gave Vandals the lead against the run of play with a penalty from almost on the halfway line.

Rishworthians came back strongly, but there were groans from the home section of the large crowd when Canning missed with two penalty attempts. Undeterred the home forwards put on great pressure in a series of scrums before skipper Gary Morris harassed his opposite number, scrum half Andrew Fox to force another penalty, with which Canning a made no mistake to level the score.

Almost straight from the restart, Knapping missed with a penalty but then made amends with another after a good lineout take by Jamie Richardson was followed by a strong forward drive. On the stroke of half-time Canning levelled the scores with a second successful kick.

Half time Rishworthians 6 - 6 Halifax Vandals

Early in the second period Rishworthians' outstanding lock Jioti Bakoso was sin-binned for killing the ball as the Copley men struggled to hold off the strong Vandals pack. When the visitors gained a five-metre scrum near the touchline, a pushover looked certain, but, one man down, the home pack took the ball against the head, with winger Nick Faulkner joining in, and managed to clear the ball.

After another period of stalemate Knapping kicked an excellent penalty from the touchline to regain the lead. Canning sliced through with a fine run, but the ball went to ground in the tackle. Canning then gained a penalty soon afterwards though and levelled the scores.

Rishworthians continued to press and close to the end, Canning kicked a fourth penalty to give the home men the lead for the first time. In the final minutes Vandals put on great pressure to score, but Rishworthians' defence held firm.

Full time Rishworthians 12 - 9 Halifax Vandals


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