Skipton 0 Wensleydale 16

SKIPTON gave a much-improved performance against fifth-placed Wensleydale in Yorkshire DivisionThree at a wet and soggy Sandylands.

Despite losing out to the well-drilled Dalesmen, the loyal Skipton supporters gave the home side a standing ovation at the final whistle for a display which bodes well for the rest of the season.

The Skipton forwards got off to a good start and won an early penalty which was put into the corner.

The ball was lost at the line-out and the Dalesmen were straight back down field but were held up by the home side over the try line.

A penalty to Skipton for Wensleydale holding on relieved the pressure.

The home side suffered a setback when flanker Martin Murray, who had started well, sustained an ankle injury within the first few minutes of the game and had to leave the field to be replaced by utility back row Gareth Atkinson.

Skipton then conceded three-successive penalties in the next period of play, each of which Wensleydale converted to give them a comfortable 9-0 lead.

Some ill-discipline from the visitors followed with a penalty to Skipton for a high tackle being compounded by another ten metres for back chat to the referee.

Amazingly, further back chat gave Skipton another ten metres. They opted for the scrum.

Another infringement followed with another scrum to Skipton and the home crowd were willing them over for a push-over try. It was not to be.

A knock-on and a penalty for holding on put Wensleydale down field. The visitors gained a penalty for Skipton going in at the side at the break down, from which they tapped and ran in a converted try just before the break.

Strong forward work by Skipton from the re-start gave them a penalty for Wensleydale handling on the floor.

The attempt at goal was not successful and Skipton coach Craig Bartlett sent Alex Baldwin on at scrum-half with Jack McLeod going to full-back to replace Andy Maclean.

A tremendous forward effort saw Skipton gain a further penalty for a Wensleydale off-side but again the kick at goal was not successful.

The sides then traded a series of penalties with neither side adding to their tally.

Skipton centre Hamish Munro was brought down and had to retire with a broken nose. Maclean returned to the field to replace him.

A dour last ten minutes followed as the game became bogged down in the mud and the final whistle blew with no further score.

Man of the match for Skipton was Jamie Carroll for his faultless defensive work and fearless tackling on the wing in the first half.