SKIPTON knew that they would have an uphill task, hosting league leaders Northallerton on Saturday, but gave a good account of themselves and, despite the score line, played some good rugby with what possession they had.

The heavy Northallerton pack won the first two line-outs from a long range kick-off and put pressure on Skipton in their own 22. The home side defended well but conceded a penalty which Northallerton put into the corner and were over for their opening try from a rolling maul from the line-out.

Skipton gained a penalty from the re-start and put the ball into the corner. Nothing came from the line-out but a further penalty by Northallerton allowed Skipton to claw back three points.

The big Northallerton pack began to dominate the scrums. The Skipton forwards stuck doggedly to their task but a second, unconverted, try for the visitors soon followed.

Joe Moorhouse, this week starting on the wing for Skipton, picked up a yellow card for interference off the ball and the home side had to re-arrange the back line. Northallerton put the ball wide from the next scrum and were over for try number three, again unconverted.

Skipton stuck to their task, defending well, but the visitors gained a push-over try from a scrum close in just before half-time and the sides turned round at 24-3 in Northallerton's favour.

Skipton started the second-half well, retaining possession and putting the ball wide. Centre Hamish Munro was over but had the ball knocked out of his hand. Skipton again came close, with good work by No. 8 Joe Hayes and flanker Ed Harrison but Northallerton replied with two further tries to advance their score to 38.

A superb chip through and chase by Skipton full-back Luther Hall saw him unlucky not to score. Michael Tam replaced Jake Emmison at scrum-half and the welcome return from injury of forward Charlie Brown, replacing Will Havers-Strong, saw him make a superb break, passing inside to put back-row Jordan Wilson in for a try. The conversion attempt by Hall hit the post and the score stood at 38-8 to Northallerton

Winger Andy Maclean was replaced by Jon Edwards ten minutes from time, having put in a good shift with some incisive runs. In the last five minutes, Northallerton gained a 5-metre scrum from Skipton's line and wrapped the afternoon up with another push-over try, giving a final score of 45-8 in their favour.