Skipton16 Burley 26

Skipton might have sensed the possibility of a much-needed win when they led 16-14 early in the second half, but visitors Burley hit back to dash their hopes.

The Reds went 3-0 up early in the game when Alex Baldwin kicked a penalty after the visitors were caught offside at a ruck.

Half backs Baldwin and Ben Jeffrey continued to probe away at the visitors’ defence but after 15 minutes some weak tackling in midfield led to Jim Langtree running half the length of the field to score under the posts for Burley.

Luke Stockton and Dave Wellock both made strong runs as Skipton tried to hit back but a turnover at a ruck and some slick passing saw the Burley winger Joe Lorri romp clear to score under the posts. Luke Gross landed his second conversion for a 14-3 lead.

Again Skipton came back at the team several places higher in the league and after some well-executed rolling mauls, Rick Willsher crashed over for a deserved try.

The Reds were boosted by the score and attacked right from the start of the second half.

Charlie Brown, with one of his bullocking charges, took Skipton into the 22 and when Burley went offside Baldwin kicked the penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-11.

With this fillip Skipton attacked again and a good run from Andy Maclean was stopped short but from the following scrum Jonny Gane picked up and went over under a sea of bodies and Skipton led 16-14.

When Burley’s stand off was sin-binned it appeared as if Skipton had a real chance to take command, but they lost concentration and a charged down kick eventually led to Richard Cuthbert scoring a try for Burley.

Skipton’s hopes of saving the game were shattered when the ball was dropped and Chris Dart pounced to score a try which Gross again converted.

Whilst the result was disappointing there were a lot of positives .

The solid front row of Chris Wright, Brown and the ever-improving Troy Johnson dominated their opponents, Willsher and Stephen Cuthbert did all the donkey work and the back row of Ben Hall, Gane and Danny Smith worked tirelessly all afternoon.

Lee Shaw and Matty Ray did not see too much of the ball but ran with determination when the opportunity arose.

Stockton was always dangerous but Wellock was undoubtedly the man of the match for a performance full of aggression in attack and excellent defence.

This young Skipton side is improving every week and the character being shown bodes well for the future.