A day for true 15 man rugby
The 1st XV always try to play 15 man open rugby, with selection issues and the starting 15 containing 12 forwards, this was really put to the test...
Skipton returned to winning ways on Saturday, fielding a team containing no less than three sets of brothers: Ben and George Hall, Stuart and Shaun Barraclough, and Luke and Jon Currie.
A moderate breeze greeted the teams on a sunny early autumn afternoon at Sandylands for the Yorkshire Division 4 encounter between Skipton and Halifax Vandals. Skipton were playing against the breeze in the first half but were soon into the ascendency with good strong tackling from Charlie Brown at wing forward snuffing out some early Halifax Vandal offensives.
A scrum against the head, which was to become a feature of this game, lead to a try for Jon Currie which Luke Stockton, in the unaccustomed role of full back, converted easily. An infringement at the scrum gave Vandals a penalty within kickable range but this was not converted. Owen Higson on the wing, who has been showing great promise of late, then unfortunately picked up an ankle injury and had to retire, being replaced by George Hall who went on to impress with one of the most robust performances on the wing seen at Skipton for some time. An opportunity for Skipton to increase their lead then went begging when a dropped pass denied the home side a certain try from ten yards out. This was made up for a few minutes later with a further try from Jon Currie, again converted by the reliable boot of Luke Stockton. Vandals were awarded a penalty just before half time which they converted for the sides to turn round at 14-3.
The second half started well for Skipton with an unconverted try by prop forward Chris Wright following a well worked move by both forwards and backs. Another scrum against the head launched the Skipton back line, with some excellent work on the wing by George Hall keeping the ball in play, but poor handling again denied Skipton further points. Yet another scrum against the head put Shaun Barraclough over for Skipton to stretch their lead and gain the additional league point. Luke Stockton converted to give Skipton a 26-3 advantage. From the re-start, text book loose forward work by Charlie Brown kept the ball in play and lead to an unconverted try by Callum Patrick.
More open football resulted in a try from Luke Stockton, having his game of the season so far at full back. His own conversion attempt hit the post and Skipton lead 36-3. A bullocking run from crowd favourite Harry Mac looked certain to be a solo try but his excitement resulted in a wayward pass and the ball went to ground. One further try from centre Liam Jordan, who had given a solid performance all afternoon, was converted by Luke Stockton to stretch the home side's lead to 43-3. A consolation try for Vandals right on full time was converted to leave the final score 43-10.
Honours for man of the match for Skipton were shared by Luke Stockton for an outstanding performance at full back and Charlie Brown for his tireless and game changing role at wing forward.