The Brotherhood went to Aireborough and despite the final score, contested a very closely fought game.
Skipton were saved from starting the game with 14 men thanks to veteran Michael Smith pulling some borrowed kit on, however Aireborough were quick to notice the absence of pace down the left wing and focussed their attacks well. Good support running allowed the home side to score three tries in the opening 20 minutes.
Skipton finally awoke. Strong forwards play and a change in tact from half backs Brian Brocksom and Mark Walton saw Skipton gain momentum and steadily progress up the field. Tom Allsopp (Castlefield Cosmetics) crashed over for the first Skipton try, followed shortly after by a similar short range burst from Andy Whitley (The Albion, Skipton). Skipton continued to look dangerous, even when Whitley was shown a yellow card for unfortunately placed high knees. During the stint with 14 men, Skipton scored their third through Carl Nicholson after some great lineout play from the pack. The teams turned around 21-15 at halftime.
An initial shaky start to the first half and Skipton continued where they had left off bringing the score to 21-20 through great play from the tireless Tony Spensley and his expertly timed offload to Ryan Ridehalgh to finish the move. Skipton's dominance continued however possession was regularly being lost due to handling errors in the back line (with Walton aptly being awarded D.O.D. as a result). This saw many chances fall by the way side and gave the hosts opportunity to maintain a grip of the game. From a quick tap penalty they caught the defence unawares and skipped away to make the score 28-20 with just 10 minutes to go.
Strong forward running saw Skipton gain field position in Aireborough red zone as Lee Shaw (Witch Electrical) was held up. A few phases after the scrum and Carl Nicholson touched down under the posts for his second of the game taking the score to 28-25 and just minutes to go. Skipton again went for the win and got into good field position however, Aireborough turned a ruck against the head and broke away unopposed to stretch their lead, and then extended it further before the final whistle as the Aireborough defence intercepted a Skipton pass and sprinted 70 yards to put the competition beyond doubt.
All in all a great exhibition of grassroots social rugby with 30+ men leaving the field together with smiles on their faces. Aaron Tattersall-Jarvis on his return to action was named joint Skipton M.O.M. with Carl Nicholson for the impressive impact he made in the set pieces. Thanks to Ryan Ridehalgh, Jonny Stoddart and Michael Smith for their contribution and changing their Saturday afternoon plans to join up with the brotherhood. A pat on the back for Ben Heggarty playing in only his second game, made a good account of himself.