Wensleydale 22 : 38 Skipton
Please note for the first time this season this report doesn't mention Luke Stockton, I assume he will still get a photo in the paper.....
Skipton continued their league campaign with a convincing 38-22 win away from home on a windswept pitch at Wensleydale.
Facing the wind in the first half, Skipton had a try within two minutes when a break away by full-back Hamish Munro put winger Redver Stork-Flatley over in the corner.
Wensleydale were going to be no walk over and, at a misunderstanding at the breakdown between the Skipton forwards, Wensleydale turned the ball over and ran in a try under the posts after three slick passes. The try was converted to put the home side 7-5 in the lead.
Their lead was short lived as an excellent crash ball from former county player Connor Carver and pressure from the Skipton forwards lead to a penalty under the visitors posts from which Carver went over. Stand-off Michael Mullins converted and the visitors regained the lead at 7-12. Wensleydale replied just minutes later with an unconverted try in the corner and the scores were tied at 12 all.
Taking advantage of the wind, the home side then twice pinned the visitors down with long range kicks gaining them a penalty under the posts which they converted to regain the lead at 15-12.
From the re-start Wensleydale again made their way down the pitch and again were awarded a penalty under the posts. This time they opted for a scrum and secured a push over try which was converted to extend their lead to 22-12. The home side seemed to be gaining the upper hand but from a mid-field break down Carver made a great individual run, breaking three tackles to cross the line and give Skipton some respite before half time. Mullins added the conversion and the sides turned round at 22-19.
Skipton started the second half with the wind behind them but it was Wensleydale who exerted the early pressure. Skipton centre Matty Langstaff collected a yellow card for a shoulder charge and the visitors picked up another penalty minutes later for a high tackle. The kick was not converted by the home side.
Tension then mounted for the visiting supporters as the second half wore on but points were not forthcoming from the Skipton pressure.
The home side then picked up a yellow card for use of the elbow by their full-back. From the resultant penalty excellent play down the back line put Langstaff over for the visitors fourth try to re-take the lead and earn the league bonus point. Mullins added the extra points.
Skipton now began to gain the ascendency and a superb passage of interplay between forwards and backs followed. Only a last forward pass prevented a further try.
Skipton's hooker Chris Sheenan, having his best season for several years, took the resultant scrum against the head to put Mullins over for a superb try and increase the visitors lead to 22-31.
A return carry from the re-start by the visitors second row Liam Jordan put Munro over for Skipton's sixth try of the afternoon. Mullins again added the extra points to extend the lead to 22-38.
Two strong runs by Skipton centre Jon Currie gave his forwards good field position but despite determined forward play by Wensleydale in the last ten minutes no further points were forthcoming and the full time score stood at 22-38.