Hemsworth 33 Skipton 27

SKIPTON were unable to grasp their chance to lift the Yorkshire Four championship when they suffered a narrow defeat in a hard game at Hemsworth.

The Reds remain at the top of the table by two points, but Hemsworth will take the title if they win their final game at Ossett on April 22.

Skipton, who had already clinched promotion, got off to an explosive start. Winger Lee Shaw charged down a kick and recovered the ball before touching down under the posts. Full back Matty Langstaff added the extra points.

A superb return from the re-start by No. 8 Harry McEneaney and a probing kick by Langstaff put Skipton into the corner. Second row Rick Wilshire stole the ball at the line-out and centre Hamish Munro crossed for the visitors' second try, putting them 12-0 up in as many minutes.

Hemsworth clawed three points back with a penalty after pressing close to Skipton's line.

A Langstaff interception, chip through, chase and recovery of the ball saw him brought down just short of the line.

Hemsworth then gained a penalty for a Skipton high tackle which they converted.

They added to Skipton's woe with an unconverted try from the re-start return and the sides were within a point of each other.

Skipton replied with a penalty goal of their own from Langstaff for a Hemsworth high tackle, but the home side ran in two further tries before half-time, one of which was converted to establish a 23-15 advantage at the break.

The second period began with an unpleasant incident, with the Hemsworth hooker receiving a red card for stamping on Skipton scrum-half Sam Brearley.

Despite being down to 14 men, it was Hemsworth who scored first, with a further penalty goal.

When Skipton were awarded a penalty on Hemsworth's 22 they opted for the scrum.

The ball went quickly out to Langstaff who ran in his side's third try.

Skipton coach Dave Duxbury made some changes to the back row, introducing Jordan Wilson and Luke Daniel.

Both made a positive contribution, especially Daniel with his high impact at the break-down, but it was Hemsworth who countered with a fourth try, to secure a valuable bonus point.

A Langstaff tap and run from the next Skipton penalty fed Munro who set up good field position. McEneaney found Langstaff from the break down and he crossed for Skipton's fourth try, gaining the visitors a bonus point. He added the extra points himself and Skipton were within a converted try of victory.

Time was running out and despite winning a scrum against the head and Langstaff putting a penalty into the corner, time ran out for the Reds.

The loss by less than seven points earned an additional bonus point, but Hemsworth are now favourites to win a title race which Skipton have led throughout the season.