Skipton 20

Old Otliensians 31

A WELL-DRILLED Skipton held Old Otliensians to a score of 24-20 until the final minute in the opening game of the season at a sun-drenched Sandylands, when a converted try on the stroke of full-time robbed the home side of a losing bonus point.

An early knock-on gave the visitors the scrum and from the line-out in the corner a jinking run by full back Will Cooper saw centre Luke Cowdell over the line.

The try was disallowed but Otliensians countered from Skipton's clearance from the five-metre scrum to gain a penalty on Skipton's 22. Cooper's kick was successful and the visitors took a 3-0 lead.

Skipton countered from the re-start with an excellent break through the line by No 8 Mark Davison putting Skipton upfield.

A penalty at the break down put Skipton into the corner. A Skipton scrum came from the line-out and winger Shaun Barraclough was just denied at the line.

A Skipton penalty kick at the next break down was hooked wide of the posts and a yellow card for a late tackle by centre Michael McLaughlin added to Skipton's woes.

A further converted penalty by Cooper stretched Otliensians lead before Skipton were caught off-side and he kicked another well-taken penalty to give them a 9-0 lead.

An infringement at the scrum from the re-start gave Skipton full-back Jamie Barker a chance at goal and he clawed back three points.

Just before half-time, visitors' second row Matt Taylor sustained a broken leg in a chance and legitimate tackle, delaying the game for 25 minutes.

The home side came straight back into the game after the enforced half-time and from an insurgence down field Barker landed a sweetly-taken drop goal to claw back another three points.

The home side supporters' joy was short lived as Otliensians countered with a converted penalty a few minutes later followed by an unconverted try by Cowdell from the re-start to give them a 17-6 lead.

The Skipton forwards drove down field from the re-start with Charlie Brown and Jordan Wilson to the fore.

The home side gained a scrum five metres out and after many phases of play skipper Hamish Munro was over for Skipton's first try. Barker added the extra points.

The visitors came straight back at Skipton from the re-start, gaining a scrum five metres out. They were held up twice over the line by valiant Skipton defence but were over at the third attempt for a converted try by Sam Featherstone.

Great forward work by Skipton from the re-start forced a wild pass into touch by the visitors. A quick tap penalty from the line-out by Brown was compounded 10 metres for dissent from the visitors and prop Sam Stewart was over for Skipton's second try. Barker again added the extra points and Skipton were within four points of the visitors.

Otliensians countered from the re-start and with 30 seconds remaining on the clock gained a five-metre scrum under the posts. A third converted try by Cowdell resulted to give a final score of 31-20 in the visitors' favour but Skipton have set their stall out well for the forthcoming season.