Skirlaugh back in the winning groove
Skirlaugh have had mixed results in the League and Cup competitions this season but bounced back from defeats at Normanton Knights and West Hull with a resounding victory over Milford Marlins in the NCL Division One at Eastside on Saturday.
The visitors were expected to provide stern opposition having been beaten finalists in the last two Division One play-offs and started the game with a gale force wind behind them. Unfortunately for them they didn't have a kicker and they wasted opportunities with hopeful punts down the middle that failed to trouble the home side. After a quarter of the game with neither side really threatening, Skirlaugh suddenly opened up and clever play saw full-back Natty Slater join the line and feed a short-sharp pass to the onrushing Matty Harling, who did the rest. Milford's misery was completed when they had a player sent to the sin-bin for protesting about a forward pass in the movement. Carl Puckering converted as he did when half-back partner Liam Swatman sold a perfect dummy to a static Marlins defence to score under the posts.
A period of strong pressure saw the visitors hit back to score twice in the last ten minutes of the opening half. The home defence was at fault from the kick-off after Swatman's try, forcing a drop-out which resulted in a six-pointer. The Marlins then capitalised on their wind advantage for another converted score and the teams went into the break all-square at 12-12.
The second half belonged entirely to Skirlaugh, with Puckering showing the visitors just how to use the wind with a series of massive touch-finders. A rare Marlins foray into the home side's territory ended with a lost ball which left-winger Tyler Pelham gleefully accepted and left the cover for dead as he scooted along the touchline before cutting in to score under the posts with Puckering again adding the extras.
Pelham was greatly involved in the next score, beating the Milford defence before putting in a deft little kick which Slater accepted, too far out for the conversion this time, as it when Sam Roe went over in almost the same position. A towering 40-20 from Puckering and quick thinking from Harvey Gotts completed the try-scoring with Puckering adding the extras for a 36-12 victory.
Myton Warriors, who forced a draw with a late try in their opening Division One game last week, couldn't quite repeat the process going down 31-20 at Featherstone Lions. The Warriors raced into a 24-6 half-time lead thank to tries from Lee James, Adam Piggott, Kris Walker and Mike Ward (2) with Ash James converting two though he unfortunately saw another two rebound off the posts. Despite the Lions scoring immediately after the break Myton restored their 18-points lead with a Jono Douglas converted score but the home side hit back in style and a Richard Frankland drop-goal on 78 minutes ended their hopes.
In Division Two, Beverley faced a very stiff task at Wigan-based Ince Rose Bridge, who had won their two opening games, and went down 17-4.
Most of the NCL matches due to be played west of the Pennines were postponed due to waterlogged pitches including Dockers proposed visit to Askam.
In the Yorkshire Men's League Forty-20 Cup, Skirlaugh Bulls went down 24-34 to Normanton Knights in a feisty encounter at Eastside.