John Mooney: Skirlaugh v Ince Rose Bridge
Back-to-back victories at Eastfield have propelled Skirlaugh into a prominent position in Division One of the NCL. After last week's success over York Acorn, they produced a dominant display against a willing but under-powered Ince Rose Bridge, running out 46-10 winners.
It didn't take long for the home side to hit their stride - winger Alex Foster going over in the sixth minute after a flowing move, with Carl Puckering converting from the touchline. Ten minutes later a lovely Harvey Gotts' pass got Scott Mountain over then smart inter-passing saw the strong-running Josh Steward crossing the whitewash. Puckering converted both and at 18-0 after just 21 minutes Skirlaugh were looking to build a big score. The Bridge lads were trying to play good rugby but lacked the power up front to take on the home side's big forwards and another fine flowing movement saw Puckering go in under the sticks. He had no problems converting that one but couldn't quite keep up his record when Mountain went in at the corner on the stroke of half-time.
At 0-28, the visitors could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel but battled away and Brad Smith got them on the scoresheet with a try which he converted himself after just seven minutes of the second period. Jamie Malone was the instigator of that score then went over himself to make it 28-10 but that was as good as it got for the Bridge. Centre Mike Johnson ended whatever hopes they had of a comeback then substitute Chris Smith, who had been causing havoc with his powerful bursts, stormed over to make it 40-10. The visitor's discipline was now in meltdown and, with a man in the sin-bin, they were unable to prevent Mountain going over for his hat-trick on the whistle.
Skirlaugh will no doubt face stiffer opposition in the coming weeks but the two recent victories have put them in a much better position in the table and in this kind of form should have few problems reaching a play-off spot.
West Hull, after their ultra-tough BARLA Cup victory on Sunday, faced a daunting assignment at Wath Brow and went down 20-4, Josh Nicklin scoring a late consolation, while Myton Warriors continue winless having again leaked too many points in a 40-14 defeat at Wigan St Patricks.
In Division 2, Hull Dockers gained a welcome 38-20 victory at Leigh East while in Division 3 Beverley kept their 100% record intact with a fine 28-20 success at Millom. The Braves were 18-0 up in as many minutes and only a couple of late tries made the score look more respectable for the Cumbrians, who had ended the unbeaten run of Clock Face Miners the previous week.