Aireborough 62 Skipton 3

by Simon Smith

AN under-par Skipton side suffered their heaviest defeat of the season away at Aireborough, to the dismay of the travelling supporters who only a fortnight ago had witnessed a much-improved performance against Wensleydale.

The home side chose to play down the slope and used the quirky pitch to full advantage, putting kick after kick into the bottom left hand corner which dips by almost a metre, stretching Skipton and forcing them to defend uphill.

A knock-on gave the home side the first scrum but they were pushed off the ball by Skipton, setting up a strong forward move down field which resulted in a penalty for an Aireborough infringement.

Scrum-half Alex Baldwin converted for Skipton's only points of the game.

A sliced clearance kick in their own 22 in the next phase of play spelt danger for Skipton. Although a subsequent penalty saw the ball cleared, the visitors were caught offside.

Aireborough opted for the scrum and ran the ball into the bottom corner for their first try.

Skipton hooker Ryan Chaffer made a good break from the re-start to take the visitors down field. They were awarded a penalty 10 metres out and opted for the scrum.

A push-over try looked on the cards but Skipton were denied and the home side cleared.

A kick in-field gave possession back to Aireborough and Skipton found themselves defending on their own line again. They kept the home side out for many phases of play but eventually Aireborough were over again in the bottom corner.

A deep kick by Aireborough into the same corner from the re-start gave them a further unconverted try before the break and the sides turned round at 17-3.

Skipton Coach Craig Bartlett made some changes for the second half, prop Sam Stewart, second-row Tom Harrison and scrum-half Jonathan Kulik went on to replace Chris Wright, George Dale and Alex Baldwin.

Smith Brown, a new signing for Skipton from Keighley, also had to retire with a facial injury early in the second half.

Skipton started the second period with promise. A kick through by stand-off Lee Neha gave the visitors a penalty for Aireborough handling on the ground.

The ball was put into the corner but an interception and breakaway gave the home side their fourth try, against the run of play, which they converted to stretch their lead to 24-3.

The rest of the game was Aireborough's, running in six further tries, four of which were converted.

Skipton were playing one man rugby, with good individual forward breaks by Charlie Brown, Luke Currie, Harry McEneaney and Ryan Chaffer being dissipated through lack of support.

It was a disjointed effort, with Skipton needing to reclaim the order of the earlier games for the remainder of the season to keep away from the relegation positions.