Skipton 13 Thornensians 18

A cool and dry day greeted the teams at Sandylands for Skipton’s re-arranged Yorkshire Division Three fixture against Thornensians.

The Reds made a spirited start with good driving forward play from Harry McEneaney, Charlie Brown and Rick Wilshire, backed up by the usual terrier-like aggression from Alex Baldwin at scrum half.

The backs, with James Ackers at outside centre to the fore, made some darting runs into the visitors’ defence but Thornensians withstood the early Skipton pressure and began to recover. They established a 6-0 lead with two penalties.

Skipton suffered a setback when Baldwin suffered an injury which forced him to leave the field.

He was replaced at scrum half by old stager Darren Howson, who only returned from injury himself last week.

Infringements by Thornensians led to a series of penalties and Skipton pinned the visitors down with line-outs close to the goalline.

A well-deserved try by centre Luke Stockton resulted. It was not converted against the strong breeze leaving Skipton 6-5 down at the break.

An early second half yellow card for the visitors for repeated infringements at the breakdown enabled Skipton to take the lead from the resulting penalty.

Skipton second row, Stephen Cuthbert, was replaced by useful utility forward Jonny Gane who proved his worth within minutes with a try from a line-out close to the visitors’ line to stretch the lead to 13-6.

Skipton’s tails were up and the crowd sensed a deserved victory for this young, spirited and determined side, who have come so close so many times this season.Unfortunately they were to be denied again.

Thornensians drew level with a converted try before scoring an unconverted one to snatch the win.

A period of intense pressure from Skipton saw their forwards launching attack after attack on the visitors’