Guisborough RUFC v Ryton RUFC

With a strong wind blowing directly down the pitch, towards the clubhouse, Guisborough RUFC entertained Ryton RUFC at Belmangate. The visitors kicked off with the benefit of the elements behind their backs, and the early minutes were played in the Guisborough half, with the home team defending well. Eventually the hosts gained possession after Phil Shields won turnover ball. He linked up with Michael Suthers who took play into Ryton territory. After a misplaced kick into touch by the opposition gave Guisborough a line-out, 30 metres from the visitors try-line, any chance of launching an attack seemed to have been lost as Ryton spoiled the set-piece, but an infringement had been spotted giving the hosts a penalty.

Quickly taken, Tony Conway rushed into the 22 metre area. Owen Edwards took over and broke through tackles before off-loading to Matthew Flint, who took play up to the whitewash before a pop pass to Liam Corcoran brought the first try of the afternoon. Edwards’ direct running was causing problems for the Ryton defence as he once again broke through the midfield and into the opposition 22. Recycled ball reached Alex Ruff, who combined with Suthers, but the winger was held up short of the try-line.

After play was kicked into the Guisborough half, the home team counter attacked. A break by Mitch Cannon, along the right wing, took the prop into Ryton territory. Several phases saw play enter the visitors’ 22, but as Flint headed towards the try-line a pass went astray. A penalty had already been conceded by the opposition though and, quickly taken, Edwards headed towards the whitewash. However, as the ball moved towards the right wing, a handling error allowed Ryton to clear.

Playing well against the wind, Guisborough broke out of their 22 metre area and made their way down the pitch. Handling phases took play into the Ryton half before Shields dodged his way forward. The ball was shipped right to Oli Muir, who drove upfield and set up a ruck. From the breakdown play moved to the right wing where PJ Finken-Hayes dived over in the corner to score.

After dominating play, Guisborough let Ryton back into the game with some indiscipline towards the end of the half. A series of penalties took the visitors into the home team 22. Although a strong defence stopped the opposition from scoring a try, a simple kick in front of the posts from 20 metres out was dispatched after another infringement had been spotted by the referee. The kick brought the first half to an end with the scoreboard reading: Guisborough 10 points, Ryton 3 points.

Now with the strong wind in their favour, Guisborough upped the tempo at the start of the second period. Edwards once again punctured the visitors’ defence with a strong run after collecting a kick. He brought Suthers into play, who kicked the ball forward into the opposition 22. An attempted clearance was charged down by Shields, and as the loose ball headed towards Muir, the back-row forward was tackled. The referee deemed that the challenge was made after the ball had been collected by Muir and a knock-on was given.

The majority of play was now taking place in Ryton territory. Jack Robinson and Ruff combined before making space for Flint to run into. The forwards then rumbled towards the try-line, but a misplaced pass ended up in touch. Relentless pressure eventually brought another try for the Priorymen. Robinson broke through the centre of the pitch and headed towards the right wing. Here Richard Cahill found himself in space and he rushed over to score from 20 metres out.

He was not the only player returning from a long lay-off to score. Shortly after, Ryton attempted to chip over the top of the Guisborough defence on their right wing. Mark Ferguson, playing for the first time since serious injury, jumped to collect the ball and then outpaced the opposition to run in from just inside his own half to score. It was now one-way traffic as Ferguson launched another attack, off-loading to Lewis Robson. The winger took play into the Ryton 22 metre area before Robinson brought Edwards into play 5 metres from the visitors’ whitewash. There was no stopping the front row forward as he smashed through tackles to score.

Not to be out-done by his fellow prop, Cannon was next to score in similar circumstances. Cahill made an initial break and passed to Rob Leggott. From five metres out Robinson popped the ball to Cannon and he charged through the opposition to score. Some astute kicking from Robinson meant that play remained within Ryton’s 22 half. At a line-out on the 22, frustration got the better of an opposition forward, who was shown a yellow card for an incident spotted by the referee. From the resulting penalty Rory Cosgrove charged forward near the posts. Ruff and Connor McFarland headed towards the try-line, but were held short. However, from the scrum a mighty push forward allowed Corcoran to pick up from the base and dive over to score.

There was no time left for any further scores before the match was brought to a conclusion with the scoreboard reading: Guisborough 43 points, Ryton 3 points.

Robinson, playing in an unaccustomed role of fly-half, took over kicking duties and was successful in converting four of Guisborough’s seven tries. A convincing win was down to an outstanding team performance, but special mention must go to the front row trio of Cannon, McFarland and Edwards, whose power was exceptional in the set-piece and outfield play. Tomorrow Guisborough travel across the North York Moors for a derby clash with Whitby.