Burley 7 Skipton 20
Skipton were rewarded with a well-deserved win on Saturday in their away Yorkshire Division Three fixture against Burley after coming so close so many times this season.
The disappointment of recent weeks has failed to diminish the team spirit of the young Skipton side with all players keen to give their commitment to playing rugby for Skipton RFC.
This win, their first since they defeated Rotherham Phoenix 18-15 on October 12, ended a run of 16 defeats.
While it isn’t enough to lift them off the bottom of the table it will be a tremendous boost for the morale of both the players themselves and the club as a whole.
Skipton played up the hill in an evenly-contested first half.
The teams appeared to be well matched and it was fitting that Skipton should open the scoring after start-ing to take the upper hand.
All their good defensive work was rewarded when Callum Patrick opened the scoring with a penalty kick.
Burley replied with a converted try five minutes later against the run of play after spotting a gap and touching down.
Skipton would not have been too dissatisfied to go in at half-time 7-3 down. The Reds were forced to make a change at the break with their stand-in coach Darren Howson coming on to direct operation in the fly half berth.
The move seemed to galvanise Skipton and some deft midfield work allowed Luke Stockton to follow up on last week’s first score for the club with another try.
Howson easily converted and added a penalty shortly after as Skipton started to take control.
Nothing is ever easy for Skipton and when Danny Smith and Andy Maclean were sent to the sin bin during a three-minute spell, the Reds were down to 13 men.
It was to Skipton’s credit that they held their line and were unable to take advan-tage of their numerical supremacy.
When Skipton were back to 15 men they were able to show what they are capable of.
Some quick passing along the backs enabled James Ackers to break the gain line with Patrick and Redver Stork-Flatley in support.
Ackers declined their assistance and stepped inside to score under the posts. It presented Howson with an easy conversion.
The game was effectively won and the loyal band of travelling supporters were ecstatic when the final whistle sounded and celebrated with the team. It had been a long time coming but they were under-standably pleased to cheer the players from the field.
The players could feel proud of their efforts.
The young backline is showing a growing maturity and confidence with Stork-Flatley outstanding at full back.
It was good to see Miff Smith back at scrum half, giving clean service.
It would be difficult and unfair to call a man of the match, but special mention should be made of Patrick, Stork-Flatley, Danny Smith and Troy Johnson who are rapidly growing into their roles and developing as players.
Chris Wright, Darren Howson, Daryl Swales, Char-lie Brown and Rick Willsher deserve a mention too on a good day for Skipton.
Skipton: Redver Stork-Flatley, Andy Maclean, James Ackers, Luke Stockton, Owen Higson, Callum Patrick, Miff Smith, Daryl Swales, Charlie Brown, Troy Johnson, Rick Willsher, Jonny Gane, Ben Hall, Danny Smith, Harry McEneaney, Darren Howson, Jordan Wilson, Jordan Emmison.