West Leeds 42, Skipton 17

Skipton’s short trip to Leeds was watched by a lot of visiting supporters, and they witnessed another great SSE Yorkshire Division Two game.

From the kick-off, Skipton took the ball deep into the Leeds half but fatally lost possession, and the West Leeds backs took the ball over the Skipton line and added the conversion for 7-0.

Five minutes later, Skipton captain Darren Howson converted a penalty to reduce the arrears to four points.

Skipton were now in command, and constant pressure in the Leeds half led to Josh Beck scoring a fine individual try, Howson’s extending their advantage to 10-7.

A further penalty attempt by Howson was missed, and from the follow up West Leeds broke away and scored a converted try to go ahead 14-10.

They soon added a penalty kick for 17-10 and, on the stroke of half-time, bad defending from the Skipton backs let West Leeds in again to lead 24-10 at the interval.

Ten minutes into the second half, Skipton scrum half Shaun Barraclough received a bad gash to his head but, after being patched-up, managed to continue.

Another penalty to West Leeds stretched the score to 27-10 but although they were 17 points behind, Skipton were playing the better rugby up front.

After winning a scrum on West Leeds’ 22, the backs got the ball out via Alex Baldwin, Beck and Jonny Moore to Andy McLean, who scored under the posts, Howson adding the conversion.

With eight minutes left on the clock, West Leeds’ backs ran in a further two tries, one of which was converted, to kill off Skipton’s hope of victory.

Although conceding 42 points, Skipton did manage to score 17 against the best defence in the league.

Overall it was a fine performance, especially from the pack, with all of them competing well but there was particularly good work from Paddy Murray, Jimmy Boynton and Dave Wellock.

In the backs, Barraclough, Moore and Beck were excellent in a display that showed that Skipton’s glass is half full (with froth on it!) rather than half empty.

Skipton should have been at Roundhegians on Saturday in the first round of the Corporate Leisurewear Yorkshire Shield but they have decided to give the Leeds club a walkover.

Fixture secretary Tracy Murray explained: “Our first-team coach Carl Watts decided on Monday morning to call the match off.

“We are just struggling with injuries again, particularly in the front row, and Carl decided it would be beneficial to give the players a week off in order to get over the niggling injuries.”

Skipton, who are still second from bottom, will therefore be back in action when the league resumes on Saturday, November 17 when tenth-placed West Park Leeds are the visitors.