Forward dominance in the scrum gave Skipton an eight try victory over Knottingley in blustery conditions at Sandylands.
The visitors kicked off with the wind behind them and a Skipton knock-on gave them the first scrum. Knottingley were penalised for lifting the scrum and this set the tone of the game. In the next phase of play, Knottingley were awarded a penalty and opted for the scrum. A superb strike by Skipton hooker Ryan Chafer (MaB) took the ball against the head and put Skipton down field.
Two successive penalties to Skipton for Knottingley lifting in the line-out gave the home side good field advantage and from the next line-out Skipton scrum-half Jack Mcleod (Drake and Macefield) saw a chink in the defence and put the ball out to winger Jamie Carroll (JD Construct) . Quick re-cycled ball put centre Ben Ross (RJG Sourcing) over for the home side's opening try.
From the re-start, Knottingley were awarded a penalty for an infringement at the scrum and clawed back three points. The re-start kick went straight out in the westerly wind and from the scrum back Knottingley applied pressure on the home side. A kick through and bad bounce for Skipton full-back George Smithson (Metcalfe's Driver Training) saw the visitors over for a converted try.
Smithson collected the ball from the re-start and made an amazing break down field. The last pass went forward but Skipton pushed Knottingley off the ball at the scrum and Mark Davison (Seddon and Davison) at No. 8 broke, gaining Skipton another penalty three metres out. The home side opted for the scrum and McLeod was over for try number two, levelling the scores at 10 all. A kick and chase by skipper Hamish Munro (RN Wooler) from a Knottingley spill saw him collect and run in for try number three.
The re-start kick again went straight out in the blustery conditions and, from the scrum back, Davison broke and passed inside to put scrum-half McLeod over for Skipton's fourth try, earning them the bonus league point. Good forward work in the next phase of play by Gareth Atkinson (HG Construct) saw Skipton down field but a nasty incident involving illegal rucking and stamping on Skipton's Ben Ross saw Knottingley's No. 13 receive a yellow card, and the sides turned round at 20-10 in Skipton's favour.
Coach Craig Bartlett brought Kiwi signing Yvarne Carroll (Shaun Barraclough Plumbing and Heating) on at stand-off for the second half. An exchange of penalties and broken play ended with Skipton, unusually in the modern game, being awarded a free-kick for Knottingley pushing before the ball went in. Swift hands put the ball out to winger Josh Smith (Sponsorship available) who broke three tackles to score Skipton's fifth try. Yvarne Carrol added the extra points.
Following a pick up and go from the ruck, second row Mal Willsher (A&G Plastics) off-loaded to McLeod to see him over for Skipton's sixth try. Yvarne Carroll again added the extra points. A lapse of concentration by the home side allowed Knottingley a third try but repeated offences by the visitors gave them their second yellow card of the afternoon. Skipton opted for the scrum and were unlucky when Carroll was bundled into touch after many phases of play. Skipton stole the ball at the line-out and stalwart prop Chris Wright (SHC) was over for try number seven. Centre Joe Gill ran in try number eight from a kick and chase by winger Jamie Carroll.
An optimistic and enthusiastic floating pass by Skipton in the dying minutes allowed an interception and gave Knottingley a consolation fourth try but the final whistle blew at 48-24 to Skipton.