Skipton 57 : 36 Bradford & Bingley
by Simon Smith
Skipton entertained Aire valley neighbours Bradford & Bingley on a sunny evening at Sandylands for the opening round of the Aire-Wharfe Cup and came away victors with an expansive nine try display of open rugby.
Some early handling errors until the home side settled down were made up for by some excellent decisive running by their utility forward Connor Carver. Bradford & Bingley were not to be taken lightly and pushed Skipton off the ball in the early scrums. The home side countered with a quickly taken penalty which produced one of the best hand offs seen at Sandylands this season from home crowd favourite Harry MacEneanie.
It was not long before Skipton opened their account with a try from winger Redver Stork-Flatley. The visitors replied with a try of their own, countered a few minutes later by a try under the posts from centre Matty Langstaff converted by stand off Michael Mullins to establish a 12 - 5 lead.
Bradford & Bingley replied again before half time to level the scores but expansive play from full back Hamish Munro and Langstaff put Liam Jordan over just before the break, Mullins adding the conversion.
The home side started the second half with the sun and wind behind them and Munro ran in an early try with Mullins again adding the extra points. Bradford & Bingley countered with a converted try but excellent forward work from MacEneanie following a run from Stork-Flatley put Munro over in the corner for a further try.
The game then ebbed and flowed and the visitors began to make inroads with two further tries, one of which was converted to level the scores at 31 all. Skipton regained the lead with a converted try from winger Josh Berrey. A further period of expansive play from the Skipton side extended their lead with a well deserved forwards' try from Luke Currie.
Bradford & Bingley were not to be out done and ran in another try of their own but the cup tie was sealed in Skipton's favour by two further tries from Langstaff in the closing five minutes, the last try being converted by Mullins to give a final score of 57 - 36.