Richmond Mavericks’ determination to win shone through in a close match in the wet and cold against a spirited Hawes United, who were able to play on their home pitch for the first time in months after a comparatively dry winter.
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The game could only take place however after a large boulder, that had worked its way to the surface, was removed.
Hawes management team Nigel Chapman and Kev Hulley used a spade and fork provided by referee Jim Wilson to remove the offending stone before kick-off.
The first hour saw plenty of full-blooded tackles but only a few half-chances.
But by that stage the Mavs had begun to pin Hawes in their own half.
As Hawes keeper Jim Guy wound up for yet another goal kick, Mav’s skipper Dan Johnson barked at his men to take it up a gear.
There was an immediate response. The men in blue trudged back to their positions with their heads down.
Mav’s midfielder Ryan Howe met the kick unchallenged.
He headed it over the Hawes defence and into the path of his striker, who took a touch and smashed it into the roof of the net from the inside left position.
Howe himself scored the second, charging through the middle and shooting in from just outside the area with his left foot. Job done, a two-nil win for the visitors.
For Hawes, more frustration, but pride in a fighting performance.
Elsewhere, Unicorn ensured they stayed just ahead of Mavs at the top of the table with an 8-0 win over Carperby.
A slightly damp Jaffa awaited Colburn and visitors Richmond Town Academy, and early exchanges were in tune with the weather.
Academy travelled with four of the previous weeks starting 11 missing and every member of the squad aged 18 or under – something that must surely be a first for the Wensleydale league.
The youngsters defied their age in the first half as they held siege to the Colburn goal with wave after wave of attackers. Lewington and Simpson were causing problems up front for the Colburn defence with Thompson’s and Sadler’s pace down the wings paying dividends.
Town took the lead on 16 minutes when they forayed forward down the right. The cross was not cut out and Edward Lewington ran in at the back post to convert the chance.
Colburn responded and Rory Wallace worked a ball through to Connor Weatherbed, whose shot was easily saved by the Academy keeper.
Josh Crisp shot wide from a throw in, then Shane Parkinson blasted over from the edge of the box.
Colburn’s rejigged midfield, which included Bobby Elliott, who was dragged from shopping duties to take part, was very much less than the sum of its parts and was finding it hard to make headway through Academy’s midfield.
Crisp had another strike off target, then Nige Cole headed wide from a corner.
Academy’s attacks relied on the speed of their wide players, and benefited from some haphazard passing by Colburn, but Colburn’s back three managed to keep them at bay for the rest of the half, and Harry Jaques was largely untroubled in Colburn’s goal.
The half finished with Elliott shooting wide, so at half time Academy still had that slim lead.
Manager Hammy Hamilton didn’t wait too long after the break before making his first change, bringing Mark Swales on in place of an erratic Weatherbed.
Two minutes later, on 56 minutes, a Tom Sweeney corner was met by Elliott on the edge of the area.
His first effort hit the post, but he was quickest to react to slot it home.
The tide had turned and Colburn began to play with much more control and assurance.
On the hour, a goalmouth melee ended with a Parkinson mishit being prodded home by Cole.
Next it was Gary Hutchinson and Cole getting in each other’s way in trying to put away a Sweeney free kick.
Academy equalised when Lewington ran at the centre half and was brought down, Brandon Gredziak stepping up for the second game in a row to score from the spot.
After 79 minutes, some quick thinking from Parkinson gave him time and room to find Elliott with his cross and Elliott fired home inside the post to restore Colburn’s lead.
At this point, Crisp was taken off and Jamie Dempster was sent upfront.
Cole received a nasty blow to the forehead when ducking into an Academy boot, but typically refused to come off.
There was just time before the final whistle for Parkinson to have a fierce shot well saved, after some quality approach work from Dempster.
There was a late chance for Academy to get a leveller what talisman striker Carr went clean through but he pulled his effort wide.
Catterick Garrison welcomed Richmond Buck to the AWS Arena on Saturday and recorded a convincing 5-2 win
Catterick went ahead when Neil Jenks Wright was brought down from behind and Liam Walker smashed in the resulting penalty.
Damian Hargreaves then beat two men down the left, but just as he was going to cross Buck’s Adam Wardle got a rouch on the ball. Unfortunately for Buck that just sent the ball to Jez Mortimer who slid it under Liam Ryan in goal.
Steven Files in the Catterick goal then made a fine save to keep score at 2-0.
A shot was thrashed towards the bottom right and Files somehow got down to his left one handed to keep it out.
Walker then scored another penalty after Jez Mortimer had his legs taken from him by the keeper. Watch the goal here.
Catterick scored again through Damian Hargreaves who lobbed the keeper and last defender from inside the box.
Sub Lee McKenny then scored with a header after he got on the end of a thunderous cross from Mortimer at the near post, which the player claimed nearly took his head off!
Goals from Buck’s Danny Allen and Jacob Tate were too little to late for the visitors.
Catterick Garrison 5-2 Richmond Buck
Colburn 3-2 Richmond Town Academy
Hawes 0-2 Richmond Mavericks
Unicorn 8-0 Carperby
Carperby v Richmond Buck
Colburn v Leyburn
Reeth v Richmond Mavericks
Richmond Town Academy v Spennithorne