Skipton 7 Harrogate Pythons 28

THE Pythons starved Skipton of possession in the first-half as the home side continued to struggle to regain form in Yorkshire Three.

A hectic start saw the sides exchanging penalties without either finding touch.

Aggressive forward play from Skipton took flanker Charlie Brown to the line but he was held up.

The Pythons countered and took the game to Skipton but were bundled into touch in the corner.

The 22 drop out was brought back for the first scrum of the game, from which the Pythons were awarded an easy penalty attempt. They converted for an early lead.

A quick tap penalty by centre Jamie Donnelly gave Skipton one of their few first-half breaks, but a dropped pass ended the move.

The Pythons gained a penalty for Skipton not rolling away and put the ball into the corner.

The ball went across the field from the line-out for a converted try in the opposite corner to stretch the visitors' lead.

Skipton were caught offside and the Pythons again put the ball into the corner. Nothing resulted from the line-out but a further penalty for Skipton not rolling away gave the Pythons another chance to increase their lead and the sides turned round at 13-0 to the visitors.

They continued the theme after the break with another penalty goal to extend their advantage.

The home side began to get their game together and a quick pick up and run by winger George Smithson fed second row John Pickersgill and opposite winger Hamish Munro to put Skipton down field.

Coach Craig Bartlett sent young Sam Brearley on at scrum-half and Jordan Wilson into the forwards.

A cohesive period of play between forwards and backs by the home side put Smithson over for a try. Full back Lee Neha added the extra points.

The Pythons responded with a late breakaway try, despite valiant defence from Smithson. The try was not converted but the visitors had amassed a 21-7 lead.

Stand-off Ben Brearley put a well placed Skipton free kick through and fantastic recovery work by Brown gained the home side a penalty. Donnelly put the ball into the corner and Smithson was only denied a try from the line-out by a last second knock-on.

Skipton suffered a blow with a yellow card for prop Luke Currie raking an opposition forward who was obstructing the ball at the ruck but then perhaps entered their best period of play of the game with two great forward drives as the visitors conceded a series of penalties.

A converted try on the stroke of full-time flattered the Pythons.