Sat 16
First XV
31
-
7
League
Skipton
Job Done

Job Done

By Matt Green
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Sheffield Medicals secured a 4 Try Bonus Point win deep into injury time against a typically never-say-die Skipton to move up to 4th in Yorkshire 2 and stay within touching distance of the top three.


A final play lasting fully 3 minutes and stretching to some 15 phases eventually saw No.8 Matt Clark take a flat ball from scrum-Half Will Watkinson and run in unopposed from 25m to deservedly cap both an excellent individual performance and an afternoon of lung-busting work from the students.

The desired extra league point looked doubtful from the off as handling error after handling error curtailed Medics progress, despite them having the lion’s share of possession in a stop-start first half. Skipton were in no mood to make up the numbers, belying their league position and no-scoring loss in the reverse fixture, and they took advantage of a needlessly conceded penalty 40m out and some unusually passive Medics tackling to score the first try of the game from a series of well executed carries into the home side’s fringe defence. The score, just to the left of the posts, was easily converted and the Medics were left in no doubt that they were in for a tough afternoon and that they would need to cut out the individual errors which had halted their progress thus far.

Acting upon this realisation, however, seemed to trouble the Medics and the knock-ons and mis-placed passes kept coming. Despite 3 points from the boot of Ted Farmer and continued pressure, the Medics found themselves two minutes from half-time and behind 3-7. Hammering away at the Skipton line the Medics earned a 5m scrum after Skipper Alex Fawdry was held up over the line (the first of 4 such instances) but another clear-cut opportunity to score was wasted and the away side earned a 5m scrum of their own and an opportunity to clear the decks. However, a running first-half theme of both teams preferring to secure the opposition’s set piece ball rather than their own saw the Medics take the ball against the head and move play quickly left to Ben Gabbott who dived in under the posts for a try which was deserved, undeserved and mildly fortunate in equal measure. Ted Farmer added the extras and the home side led 13-7 at the break.

At the restart, and having had 5 minutes to regroup, the Medics immediately went about rectifying their shortcomings and again started to heap pressure on Skipton but this time with much improved control. The Dalesmen’s resolute defence was a constant thorn in the side of the home side’s attacking ambitions but cracks were beginning to appear as the Medics began to hold on to the ball for longer periods of time. Skipton were camped inside their own half for fully 35 of the next 40 minutes but showed some excellent continuity in their play to make a couple of dangerous forays up field.

The Medics continued to hammer into the Skipton defensive line and created numerous chances to score. First, Tris Jones was held up over the line, then Tom Piggott suffered the same fate on the opposite touchline and Tom Ramsay completed the hat-trick by also failing to touch-down. Matt Cooper also had a try chalked off for a double movement. In amongst all this, however, the Medics did cross for two well-worked scores via Ramsay and Cooper and so set up a tense final 5 minutes with a vital try bonus point finally within reach.

A play which began in their own half, crossed the pitch numerous times and saw carries from almost every member of the 15, eventually progressed to the cross-section of 22 and left-hand 15m lines. Scrum Half Watkinson was quickest to react at the breakdown and spotted an opportunity, running from the base and holding the fringe defence to send Clark over for the bonus-point sealing score.

Red and Blue bodies lay strewn the width of the field as the Referee blew for no side and as the players dragged each other to their feet to complete to post-match formalities there was a sense of a job well done (in the end) for the Medics and of optimism for the rest of the campaign for Skipton, whose new signings seem to have galvanised the rest of the side.

The men from The Steel City now have a well-earned week off after a run of four consecutive wins and ahead of a crucial game at West Leeds.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 16, Feb 2013

Kickoff

14:15

Competition

Yorkshire 2