Pocklington 45

North Ribblesdale 19

THIS appears a heavy defeat for Ribb, but in the final analysis they emerged with some credit against the league champions.

Poor form had left the side with an almost tangible lack of confidence evident in the opening quarter, when Pocklington raced into a 28-0 lead.

Pock had won the title several weeks ago and suffered only one loss all season in a run which has taken them into the Yorkshire Shield final.

Thankfully, Ribb found their fighting spirit and, for the last hour, matched Pock try for try.

The absence of Kirkbride saw Jonathan Mills in the starting line-up for the first time in a league match and with Walker injured, Spensley moved into the centre allowing Ian Cowperthwaite to take up a wing berth.

After that early onslaught tackles finally began to be made with conviction, Mills took his own ball (and some of Pock's) and the front row joined battle.

As good ball came their way, half backs Gemmell and Towns came into play and good handling produced an excellent try for Evans.

A close range scrum gave Gemmell the platform from which he ghosted over. Both tries were converted by Gemmell and Ribb were back in the running.

They were distinctly unlucky to concede a further try which brought up a 35-14 half time score.

The second period saw Ribb exert heavy pressure but the visiting defence stood firm and eventually took play upfield.

Ribb were now giving as good as they got and the exchanges became somewhat fractious, both sides struggling to come to terms with some of the referee's decisions. The game, generally played in good spirit, suddenly saw the yellow card fluorished with frequency and the game lost its fluency.

A fine charge by Humphreys and his perfect pass saw Ribb's next try, courtesy of Richards. But the home side were in no mood to let things slip and ran in two more unconverted tries.

One other piece of action before the end saw Mills sent off for an offence at the ruck - he was undoubtedly unfotunate to receive the ultimate sanction but it came as no surprise given the precedent.

So a disappointing end to a match that, in a perverse way, may have boosted Ribb's spirits for although the opening action was poor, the side fought well. Pock never looked like losing but knew they had been in a game.

Ribb ended the relegation positions by just one point but it seems that the North East Leagues in which they play will be no more next season.

Next season should see the emergence of a Yorkshire league at this level.

Whilst final confirmation is awaited, it seems that the clubs involved will be York, Keighley, Pocklington, Cleckheaton, Wheatley Hills, Selby, Pontefract, Hull, North Ribblesdale, Brodleians, Huddersfield YMCA and Yarnbury.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.