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Only injuries quench Skipton's Shield spirit
Skipton 11, Barnsley 45
Barnsley came into this Corporate Leisurewear Yorkshire Shield quarter-final as red-hot favourites, having already been promoted from SSE Yorkshire Division Two.
Despite this, injury-stricken Skipton started in formidable fashion, and straightaway displayed some of the form that had allowed them to progress to this stage, despite being underdogs every round.
Returning talisman Darren How-son controlled Skipton’s attack, which started with a clever kick-off, and involved some strong carrying from the pack and slick handling from a depleted backline.
Centre Lee Shaw returned from illness and was straight into the action with a powerful outside break.
The visitors, struggling to cope with the pace and enthusiasm of a young Skipton pack, had to infringe to prevent the seemingly inevitable try, and Alex Naylor duly converted the penalty to give Skipton the lead.
Skipton were straight back on the attack, with strong carrying by Rick Willsher, David Wellock and Paddy Murray.
Howson’s sturdy right boot bought Skipton more territory, and good work from impressive back-rowers Ben Hall and Shaun Barraclough gave more possession to Skipton’s backs.
The home scrum, weakened of late, was able to dominate the opposition again and again in the opening 20 minutes, with the front row of Lambert, Shearer and Sheehan to the fore.
The backs had good ball to work with, which centre Jonathan Richards utilised by squeezing in the corner, Naylor being unable to convert the tricky kick.
However, Skipton’s horrendous injury curse struck again, meaning a pack reshuffle as Wellock limped from the field and Tom Creasey entered the fray.
This allowed Barnsley to get a foothold, and they showed the large home crowd exactly why they are top. Before the half finished, they scored two quick converted tries and a penalty, making it 17-8.
After using the break to reorganise their disrupted line-out, Skipton started the second half like the first.
Young wings George Hall and Gavin Ackers-Johnson showed pace and creativity to make yards, while scrum half Michael Smith controlled the rampaging forwards.
Skipton, threatening the Barnsley line, were again awarded a penaly, Naylor again converting.
However, back-rower Murray had to leave the field injured and Barnsley cashed in, particularly in the final 20 minutes.