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Skipton's battlers draw a blank
Leodensians 20 Skipton 0
Skipton visited Leodiensians in a better frame of mind after two intense and more importantly, well attended, training sessions during the week.
Higher numbers indicated a keener focus and desire to move on quickly from a chastening experience last week.
The pack stormed into their opposition from the off, pushing them back in the scrum and in the loose, where the front three were really to the fore.
Chris Lambert, Jimmy Boynton and Chris Wright had the proverbial bit between their teeth and were making inroads at every opportunity.
The fourth front row in the squad, Simon Bygrave, always makes an impact when he comes on, bursting with energy and a willingness to cover the hard yards.
Leos defended well and from their first sustained attack, their deceptively quick left winger stepped and turned on the gas, leaving the Skipton defenders trailing, to touch down in the corner.
Undeterred, the visitors got straight back into the fray, applying more pressure. A well-worked driving maul from a line-out was the nearest they came to a try in the first half. Starting 22 metres out and falling just short.
They also had two penalty kicks at goal, which were difficult in tricky wind conditions, both went the wrong sides of the posts.
When you’re winning, these sneak over. This would have been a 6-5 Skipton lead, but instead they were 5-0 down.
Whatever was in the Leos’ half-time tea, Skipton need some of it.
They upped the tempo several levels and scored three-quality tries in a quick-fire ten-minute period that shows just how easy it is to ease off slightly and pay the penalty.
At this point the large and vocal visiting support feared the worse. Skipton dug deep, re-grouped and for the last 15 minutes played some really good rugby.
They deserved at least a couple of scores. Throughout the game, because they are so eager and pumped up, they’re snatching at passes and chances that come their way and just can’t finish.
The re-united Shaun Barraclough and Darren Howson combination was good to see at half-back, varying the play between backs and forwards. Again, centre Jonny Moore made some fine breaks, he needs a speedster on his shoulder to read these to off-load to.
Joseph Porter put some sweet ankle-wrapping tackles in, when Leos had appeared to escape.
The return of Malcolm Willsher was a lift, the Lighthouse-stature brother combined with Rick Willsher to create a powerful engine-room. This supplemented by the hard-grafting Darryl Swales augurs well.
Nobody is more committed to the cause than pack leader Tom Keady. He was battered but unbowed.
It’d be easy for heads to drop – not a bit of it. This is a young squad, together on the field and off.
The man of the match was loose head prop Chris Lambert.
Until he got a calf injury, that forced him off the field after 50 minutes, he must have made 200 yards over the gain-line.
He popped up all over the park and crunched through tackler after tackler. Great Stuff.