Skipton 8

Wharfedale 3rds 7

RESOLUTE defence and a forward resurgence in the second half saw Skipton through to the final of the Aire-Wharfe Cup by the narrowest of margins in a tight game at Sandylands.

The Dalesmen had weight advantage in the scrum and a yellow card after three minutes for Skipton prop Darren Greenwood obstructing a Wharfedale tap penalty did not help the home side's cause.

Skipton were not deterred and a great break and chip through from James Akers on the wing saw full-back Hamish Munro away.

A knock-on ended the move but Skipton gained a penalty in the next phase of play for Wharfedale not releasing.

The attempt at goal went wide but Skipton counter attacked from the 22 with a break by flanker Jamie Carroll and a chip through by Joe Stapleton on the wing.

Wharfedale claimed the mark but great defensive play by Skipton, with turn over ball and forward breaks, kept Wharfedale at bay.

Skipton coach Craig Bartlett brought Tom Harrison and Andy Wooler into the pack just before half-time and Skipton won the line-out from a Wharfedale penalty kick into the corner.

A kick down field saw Skipton gain a penalty themselves for a Wharfedale off-side, but again the attempt at goal went wide and the sides turned round with no score.

Tom Allsop came into the front row for Skipton after the break and put in a tremendous shift as an impact player for the rest of the game.

A half-break from the line-out put the visitors' No 10 over for an easily converted try under the posts.

Skipton were not going to let this go and drove down field from the re-start with forwards Charlie Brown and Harry McEneaney to the fore.

Having been driven backwards in the scrum in the first-half, Skipton re-set themselves and began to take control at the set piece.

The visitors received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on after Skipton had taken a scrum against the head and set up a quick blind side move.

Skipton stayed in Wharfedale's 22 and, from another scrum against the head, scrum-half Adam Oldfield was over. The conversion attempt drifted wide but Skipton were back in contention.

Wharfedale countered from the re-start but Brown won a strategic penalty at the breakdown for Wharfedale holding on.

Skipton then took two consecutive scrums against the head.

Harry Maltby joined the Skipton pack and quick hands saw Skipton gain a scrum five metres out.

McEneaney was over from the scrum but was adjudged to have been held up.

Skipton remained in Wharfedale's 22 and gained a penalty 15 metres out. Centre Joe Gill slotted the kick to put Skipton ahead.

A forward pass from the re-start gave Wharfedale the put-in, but Skipton took the scrum against the head again.

The Dalesmen threw everything at Skipton in the last five minutes, but the home side's defence was rock solid.

A high tackle gave the visitors a chance at goal but the ball spun wide.

A Wharfedale interception was bundled into touch and the final whistle blew to the delight and joy of the home crowd.

Skipton now face Burley in the final at Sandylands on Wednesday, May 1. Kick-off is at 7pm.