Skipton 8 Northallerton 27

TAKING on the league leaders was always going to be a challenge but a much-improved Skipton side gave a good account of themselves in a competitive Yorkshire Three game at Sandylands.

Northallerton's heavier and more robust pack won the day and this was evident in the opening minutes when two early penalties put them in to the corner for an unconverted try.

A good re-start kick saw Skpton centre Jon Currie break through but a knock-on gave the visitors the scrum and the Reds were back down field again.

A break from the line-out by Northallerton's outside centre put them over for try number two, which was converted for a 12-0 lead.

An excellent tackle in the next phase of play by Skipton full-back Jack McLeod earned the home side a penalty for Northallerton not releasing.

The ball was put into the corner and from the line-out number eight Harry McEneaney spun a slick ball to stand-off Adam Oldfield who put back-row Charlie Brown over to the delight of the home crowd.

Northallerton put a long-range penalty kick into the corner and from the line-out used the rolling maul to good effect.

They were held up on the line but gained a further penalty and used the same tactic again to go over for their third try.

A knock-on in the next phase of play gave Skipton the scrum but they were driven off and the ball went down the line to put the visitors' winger in for their bonus-point try.

Skipton were always in contention and a penalty from the re-start was converted by scrum-half Jonathan Kulik to claw back three points.

The home side gained a further penalty from the re-start and the ball was spun across the field.

Northallerton were given a yellow card for a late tackle on McEneaney and a quick tap and break by prop Chris Wright saw him held up on the line.

The third quarter was a war of attrition with both sides exchanging penalties but no points ensuing.

A quick-tap ball by centre Hamish Munro saw Skipton held up just short again with Brown receiving a yellow card for reasons known only to the referee.

Northallerton put in a long-range penalty kick to the corner and used the rolling maul again to secure the only points of the second half.

Skipton had the best of the last 15 minutes with an incisive run from Munro and a great break and charge by Wright forcing the visitors to concede a penalty.

Wright sustained an ankle injury in the move and had to leave the field.

Skipton put the ball through many phases of play but were bundled into touch in the corner as Northallerton ensured there were no late alarms.