Skipton suffered a seven try defeat by a strong Rotherham Phoenix side on a cold and windswept afternoon at the Herringthorpe Playing Fields. An early spill by Skipton from the kick-off gave Rotherham the put-in and the strength of the home side pack was immediately apparent. Whilst the visitors held them at the first scrum, they conceded a penalty at the break down and, from the line-out in the corner, the Rotherham forwards drove over for their opening try.
Despite coming back strongly from the re-start, Skipton conceded two further penalties and were pinned back in the corner, from where Rotherham used the same tactic to gain try number two.
Rotherham knocked-on from the re-start but took the ball against the head at the scrum and were soon on Skipton's line again. The visitors defended well and held the home side up before clearing down field. Skipton Coach Craig Bartlett brought Rob Morgan into the front row to bolster the visitors' pack but he couldn't stem the tide and Rotherham ran in two more tries before the break with the sides turning round at 24-0 to the home side.
Skipton started the second half well, gaining two penalties and putting the ball into the corner. Rotherham took the ball over their own line and from the five metre scrum Skipton No. 8 Mark Davison broke and put the ball across the field. Skipton re-cycled the ball well through many phases of play, eventually putting winger Joe Gill clear. To the dismay of the small band of travelling supporters, he was put into touch just before the corner flag and no points ensued.
Rotherham cleared down field and from a Skipton 22 drop out countered strongly, putting the ball through many phases themselves before going over for try number five.
Harry McEneaney made a welcome return to the Skipton side from injury, replacing Josh Walker in the back line and taking up position on the wing. A charge down by flanker Harry Maltby put Skipton down field and Charlie Brown broke from the rolling maul. Skipton put intense pressure on Rotherham's line and from a line-out in the corner Davison broke from a rolling maul to go over for Skipton's only try of the match. Coach Bartlett brought prop Tom Allsop on for the re-start and he immediately made his mark as an impact player at the ruck, driving the Rotherham forwards back and allowing Davison to gain turnover ball. Rotherham picked up a yellow card for a high tackle on winger Jamie Carroll and Skipton put the ball down field. They gained two quick tap penalties in succession for Rotherham infringements but a dropped last pass allowed the home side a break away sixth try.
Despite sustained forward work at the ruck, with Allsop and Brown to the fore, Rotherham ran in a seventh try in the closing minutes to record a 43-5 victory.