Final play heartbreak again
Salem comeback from behind to steal the game
This game had it all. Plenty of trys, drama, a midgame migration and an epic comeback in a fantastic exhibition of grassroots rugby.
Skipton started the stronger in the early exchanges and it took 10 minutes to get on the scoresheet despite playing into the wind. A good move through the backline saw Ben Atkinson release Jonny Stodart on the right wing 60 metres from the line. With a great turn of pace and a lot of will power he downed the ball in the corner for his second score in as many weeks.
The visitors reacted instantly and within moments took the lead with a converted try under the posts off the back of strong forwards play around the ruck.
Skipton regrouped and with great support running were soon back in control. Skipper Lee Shaw (Witch Electrical) gave the initial go forward from 10 everytime setting the platform for free flowing rugby. Andy Whitley (The Albion, Skipton) gaining yards and providing the first offload to Harry Maltby (Gerigraph Construction) became the pattern of the rest of the half with others following the example. Quick ball from breakdown deep in Salem territory saw Jacob Squires follow the Whitley template, 15 yards gained with three defenders on him and a neat offload to the bulldozing Darren Greenwood to crash over for his first ever Skipton try. Converted neatly by Jack Firth.
The move of the game saw Skipton go further ahead. A kick deep into the corner from Salem was returned by Joseph Martin (Silverback Sponsors) first stepping the chaser, then beating his opposite man in a dash up the touchline. As the scrambling defence got hands to him a slick offload to Jack Firth ensured forward motion continued and set up a 2v1 with Harry Maltby against the Salem fullback which saw Maltby score beneath the posts. Conversion successful taking the score to 19-7.
It is with regret we report that after this positive contribution, Joseph Martin suffered a broken leg in a tackle whilst defending. This event caused a lengthy delay to proceedings, change of pitch and changed the dynamic of the Skipton lineup effectively swaying the game in Salem favour. Salem kept warm during the interval and had a clear focus while Skipton minds remained on the well being of their youngest brother.
Before halftime blew Salem were over the whitewash. Conversion successful saw the teams switch ends at 19-14.
The second half was dominated by the Salem forwards. Attack after attack was thwarted and Skipton took their chances on the counter. Andy Whitley first to score showing where the nickname "Pain Train" comes from as he smashed two would be tacklers out of his way to get to ground.
Tempers began to flare and Salem had the upper hand. The forwards secured the ball and maintained momentum eventually culminating in the no. 8 scoring by the posts. This was followed by the young flanker skipping round three men on the outside to score in the corner.
From a Ben Atkinson kick deep in his own 22 Skipton managed to get into Salem territory and this eventually resulted in Andy Whitley confirming his Man of the Match status by scoring his second try, a carbon copy of the first.
With the score poised at 31-29 Salem broke through and created a 2v1 against Lee Shaw. A deliberate knock down of the pass from the Skipton captain, in conjunction with the subsequent prevention of Salem advantage, saw a yellow card brandished with just 3 minutes to play.
With the man advantage Salem pressed for the win. Skipton defence held firm with a great effort from every player in purple but with the final play Salem created an overlap to take the game.
Heartbreak struck for the second time this season but the Mighty Twos can hold their heads high and go into the next game with confidence. It was great to see some old colts return in the form of Micheal Murray, Jordan Emmison, Aidan Proctor and Jake Emmison who all played tremendously.
Next week Skipton face Guisborough at Sandylands in the 3pm kickoff as part of another Super Saturday.