Sheffield Medicals 24 Skipton 21

by Simon Smith

Skipton's dominance in the scrum was undermined by two breakaway tries as they slipped to a narrow Yorkshire Three defeat.

A bitterly-cold day at Sheffield University's Norton Playing Fields saw Skipton get off to a good start, driving the Medics off the ball in the early scrums.

A penalty for the Medics collapsing the scrum went wide of the posts and a knock-on from the re-start gave the home side the put in.

A kick through gave them an early breakaway try as the bounce beat Skipton's new Kiwi signing Lee Neha at full-back.

Skipton took the next scrum against the head and put the ball down field. They were awarded a series of penalties in the Medics' 22 and opted for the scrum on each occasion, a pattern that was to be repeated throughout.

Eventually the visitors wore the Medics down and were awarded a penalty try for interference as Skipton No. 8 Harry McEneaney went to touch down.

Despite taking the next two scrums against the head, Skipton conceded a penalty for not rolling away and open back play put the Medics into Skipton's 22.

Skipton gave away a further penalty which the Medics converted to re-take the lead at 10-7

The second half began with an excellent break by scrum-half Jonathan Kulik, but Skipton suffered a blow with the loss of key centre Jon Currie with a knee injury.

He was replaced by young Sam Brearley and quick hands from Kulik put him away with winger Hamish Munro being bundled into touch just short of the line.

The Medics again conceded two successive penalties on their own line with Skipton opting for the scrum. The second saw George Dale touch down for a push-over try. Neha added the extra points for a 14-10 lead.

The joy of the small band of travelling supporters was short lived as the Medics secured a second breakaway try.

The home side then put a long-range penalty kick into the corner and gained a third converted try from the line-out.

Skipton were not to be outdone and the forwards worked their way down field from the re-start.

Yet again the Medics conceded a penalty on their own line and the Skipton pack drove them back for another push-over try by Dale. Neha converted and Skipton had reduced the deficit to 24-21.

Despite a late break from Neha, Skipton had to settle for a losing bonus point.