Despite a hat-trick of tries from skipper Hamish Munro (RN Wooler) and some outstanding individual performances, Skipton went down by seven tries to three at a windswept Cawkill Park, Leyburn.
The dalesmen kicked off with the wind behind them and applied early pressure. A spilled ball gave Skipton the first scrum but a charged down clearance kick gave Wensleydale possession and their forwards ran in the first try of the afternoon within five minutes.
Skipton put a penalty kick into the corner but lost the line-out and Wensleydale were back down field. Munro bundled their winger into touch but the visitors lost the line-out again and the Wensleydale forwards were over for try number two.
The Skipton captain lifted the spirits of the sizable band of travelling supporters a few minutes later with a superb break for Skipton's opening try, after stand-off Yvarne Carroll (Shaun Barraclough Plumbing and Heating) put him away following quick hands from the scrum. Carroll added the extra points against the strong breeze.
Skipton gained two successive penalties from the re-start and opted for the scrum. Scrum-half Jack Mcleod (Drake and Macefield) put winger Sam Brearley (Sponsorship available) away but a knock-on ended the move. The dalesmen put the ball down field and, after a series of rucks, won back possession and their forwards were over for try number three. Try number four followed not long after and things were not looking good for Skipton.
Skipton gained a free kick for a Wensleydale foot up and put the ball down field. Brearley sustained an injury and had to leave the field, being replaced by Jamie Carroll (JD Construct) . A penalty to Wensleydale put the ball back down field and, despite a forward pass giving Skipton the scrum, the home side gained a further penalty within kickable range for Skipton handling on the ground. Their stand-off slotted the kick to stretch the lead and the sides turned round at 31-7 to Wensleydale.
Skipton Coach Craig Bartlett (Pure Travel/WBW) brought Jonny Kulik (SIPS@Clays) into the back line for the second half, replacing Yvarne Carroll who needed attention to an injury, and the Reds started the second half with fervour but sustained Wensleydale pressure put the ball out to the wing for try number five.
Skipton conceded a series of penalties but Wensleydale couldn't capitalise and the visitors put in a long range kick down field in the wind. Scrum-half McLeod broke from the base of the scrum to put Munro over between the posts. Kulik added the extra points. Wensleydale countered almost immediately with their sixth try from strong forward play. McLeod was injured in the next phase of play and had to leave the field, with Kulik stepping up to the mark at scrum-half.
The home side had the bit between their teeth and ran in their seventh try of the afternoon, with the touch line conversion being remarkable in the strong wind. Skipton were not finished and a great individual break by Skipton's pocket rocket Jamie Carroll saw him unlucky to be brought down just five metres short and be injured in the process.
Wensleydale conceded a penalty at the scrum, Skipton tapped and ran putting Munro over for try number three. Kulik added the extra points with the last kick of the game, giving a final score of 52-21 to the home side.