Solid defence lays platform for Siddal success

Siddal 26 Skirlaugh 6

Siddal got off the mark in the NCL Premier Division with a home win earned on the back of a superb first half defensive effort by the whole team.

Siddal took the lead in the fifth minute through right wing Stephen Hope who touched down in the corner following fine handling by fullback Scott Caley and centre Richard Lopag.

Gareth Blackburn added a good conversion and at 6-0 Siddal looked set to take command. However, for virtually the remainder of the half Siddal were pinned back inside their 20 metre zone as Skirlaugh piled on the pressure.

Siddal defended magnificently though with many last ditch tackles on their line. Several times Siddal defenders had to scramble to kick and

push the ball dead, notably Blackburn, Caley and Nick Smith, as Skirlaugh used a short kicking game to good effect.

Danny Williams, Mark Boothroyd and Jabe Dennis pulled off try saving tackles, but the whole line stood up to the Skirlaugh onslaught.

Only once did Siddal manage to break the siege and they almost doubled their lead but left wing Blackburn was adjudged to have stepped on the touchline as he grounded the ball in the left corner.

Back came Skirlaugh and just when it appeared that their kicking game into the Siddal in goal area would pay dividends the ball hit the post and Andrew Fox was able to clear up on the stroke of half time.

Siddal began the second half strongly. Within three minutes, and the Skirlaugh defence retreating toward their own line, Siddal hooker Craig

Sanderson fired out a quick straight pass to onrushing prop Garnett who crashed over underneath the posts. Blackburn added an easy goal for a 12-0 lead.

On 46 minutes Siddal again moved deep into Skirlaugh territory and the referee awarded a penalty for holding down, Blackburn obliging with the kick. Within five minutes Siddal were just about home and hosed when halfback Chris Brooke scored a good individual try after his dummy fooled the Skirlaugh defence. Blackburn again goaled to open up a 20-0 lead

Skirlaugh were given a glimmer of light on the hour mark when a Caley pass to the left was picked off by substitute Thomas Saltmer who ran fully 60 metres to register Skirlaugh’s only try close to the posts.

Centre Jason Bell added the goal to cut the deficit to 20-6 but Siddal were not going to let their great defence in the first half come undone and closed the game out on 68 miutes with a great try.

Shaun Garrod made the initial break which was carried on by Smith. He drew the fullback and passed inside to the supporting Andrew Fox who scampered under the posts, Blackburn adding another easy two points.