After watching Sale destroy Gloucester the night before, our boys were then treated to a trip to Carrington, the training ground, where we met Fraser McKenzie. This seemed to inspire us…
1. Monty Weatherby
2. Joe Beckett
3. Archie Irlam-Mowbray
4. Ollie Taylor
5. Harry Taylor
6. Tom Stock
7. Alex Walker
8. Jack Bayes
9. Thomas Lea
10. Luke Pickles
11. Alex Wardle
12. Cameron Beech
13. James Finucane
14. Matt Reel
15. Jake Meredith
Replacements: Christian Dolan, Jordan Ravenscroft, James Parry, David Hanson-Isasi, Callum Darlington, James Moore
Scorer(s): Tries: James Finucane, Jack Bayes, Cameron Beech, James Parry 2, Callum Darlington, Luke Pickles Con(s): Luke Pickles 3
A beautiful setting, at a great club, we were made to feel most welcome. North Ribblesdale very kindly agreed to play us on a Saturday during our tour, just before their 1st XV had a local derby, so the crowd was large and conditions perfect. Ribb were a player short, so sportingly James Moore and Tom Stock agreed to don their shirt for a half each, so firstly I would like to thank them both for kindly agreeing to do that.
The Ying and Yang of rugby has been heavily involved in our season so far, and typically we lose one rampaging centre in Josh Brookes to a long term injury, when we get James Finucane back from another, but in the spirit of tour rugby, we decided to pair him up with a No.8 in Cameron Beech! This proved a successful switch, as the pair remembered their 7’s training from the previous weeks to open the scoring, with James Finucane showing he has lost none of his pace to score a cracking opener from 30 yards.
Ribb showed they are a really good side after the restart, hitting us through the middle, then out wide, but we tackled well despite some heavy pressure. The pressure, however, came to the boil, and Ribb scored after we finally missed a tackle to even the score at 7-7.
The pendulum swung once more, as we now attacked deep into the Ribb half. Several attacks were broken down, but after a scrum won against the head Jack Bayes collected from the back of the scrum to pounce over the line to edge us ahead once more 14-7.
The Ying switched to the Yang once again, as James Moore, no less, started causing havoc against us! Ribb broke free yet again to score, but their player made an error by not going under the posts, making the kick difficult, so we still edged it 14-12.
Our new look midfield was now shaping up though, as Luke Pickles, Cameron Beech and James Finucane started to combine well, with Cameron showing his all-round skills to score the final try of the half just before half-time for us to lead 19-12.
At half-time we rang the changes, with players rested from the previous day’s exploits, several players took to the pitch with a renewed hunger, and this showed heavily in the opening exchanges, as James Parry almost blew Ribb away, with pace and power. Jordan Ravenscroft was back to his attacking best after being on the defensive back foot for our previous few games, and Callum Darlington showed he is brimming with confidence after being selected for Sale’s development squad.
It was James Parry who scored his first in 8 games, who opened proceedings in the second half, blasting his way through the Ribb back line to score under the posts as the whole side saw their confidence rise.
With the result of the game now secure, frustrations from previous weeks were now unleashed, as we let loose. Callum Darlington took charge from a loose line-out ball to score again in the corner, as we looked hungry for more.
Luke Pickles got in on the act after a mazy run showing no ill effects from the previous day’s injury, and to cap off the day, James Parry scored his brace in fine style after again we won a scrum against the head, to cap a 41-12 well earned victory.
North Ribblesdale were fantastic in their hosting of the game, and showed they are a spirited, developing side, and our thanks go out to them.
Several players stood out today, Jack Bayes was terrific throughout and the midfield pairing of Cameron Beech and James Finucane meant we didn’t miss our talisman and captain Josh Brookes too much. Luke Pickles was creative throughout, and Jake Meredith showed his all round game is improving week on week. James Parry blew the opposition apart with some strong running and Joe Beckett won loads of ball against the head, and in the loose, so a great performance on a top day.
So off we went to the Bunkhouse for the night, where we made a fryers day (with an order of 57 Fish & Chips) and a Landlords miserable!