Skipton 41

Sheffield Medicals 0

SKIPTON banished the New Year blues with a seven-try victory over Sheffield Medicals, adding a valuable Yorkshire Division Three bonus point to their tally.

With players returning from injury and Kiwi Joe Simeon usefully deployed at No 8 by coach Craig Bartlett, Skipton impressed the home crowd with a well-drilled performance, keeping the ball tight in the windy conditions.

Skipton kicked off into the strong westerly breeze and good handling soon brought them close to the Medics' line.

They opted for the scrum when Medics were caught offside but a knock-on two metres out ended the move.

The Medics won turnover ball at the next breakdown but their punt to clear down field was carried over the dead ball line in the breeze and a great break by Simeon from the scrum back fed skipper Hamish Munro at full-back, who put winger Tom Lacey clear for Skipton's opening try. The conversion attempt, although on target, veered widely in the strong wind.

The sides then exchanged a series of penalties with Skipton opting for the scrum each time and playing strongly into the breeze, until the Medics received a yellow card for an illegal tackle.

The penalty move faltered but Skipton took the next scrum against the head, putting Munro clear for their second try. Munro added the extra points himself.

Skipton won turnover ball from the re-start and cleared into touch. They stole the ball at the line-out and scrum-half Ra Neha was over for try number three. The conversion attempt was again blown off course.

Just before half-time, Munro sustained a broken nose and had to leave the field, being replaced at full-back by Sam Brearley.

The re-start kick for the second half did not go 10 metres and Skipton immediately put pressure on the Medics from the scrum back.

A knock-on on the Medics line gave the visitors the put in, but Skipton took the ball against the head and Miff Smith, this week starting at flanker, touched the ball down for a push-over try, gaining the valuable bonus point. Neha added the extras.

Simeon was instrumental in try number six, breaking from the base of the scrum in the next phase of play to put Smith over for his second try of the afternoon. The conversion attempt went wide in the conditions.

Skipton's sixth try went to prop Darren Greenwood with crash ball from the ruck and stand-off Ben Brearley rounded off Skipton's tally when the home side opted for the scrum from a penalty 10 metres out.

The ball went through many phases before the No 10 found a gap and was over. The last kick of the game went to Neha who added the extra points.