Bradford Salem 36, Skipton 23

Bradford Salem finished their Yorkshire Division One campaign in fine form after overcoming local rivals Skipton at Shay Lane yesterday.

Ben Scarbrough and John Bradbury were forced to withdraw from starting line-up after picking up injuries in the Yorkshire Shield quarter-final tie at Selby on Thursday night, Sean Thomas coming into the back row and Jordan Ashworth making his first start at prop.

Salem were determined to play an expansive game and threw the ball out wide in the early stages.

Both teams were finding holes in the opposition defences but it was the Bradford side who drew first blood, hooker Sean Fields going over on the blind- side following some slick handling from skipper and No 8 Kris Falwasser.

The home side then increased their lead when Ashworth went over from a driving maul, full back Jonathan Davies adding the extras to put his side 12-0 ahead.

Skipton cut the lead to 12-3 with a penalty from former Salem player Darren Howson but the home side responded almost immediately when scrum half Ian Woodwiss scored after charging down an attempted clearance kick, Davies landing the conversion to make the scoreline 19-3.

The Heaton side would have gone further ahead had Kiwi centre Kris Whata realised he had players in support on either side of him after he made an excellent midfield break.

However, with one man to beat, he opted to go himself and was hauled down short of the line.

Skipton's spirits were lifted by this missed opportunity and, after a period of intense pressure in Salem's 22, winger Lucas Wooton forced his way over in the corner for try improved by Howson to give a half-time scoreline of 19-10.

Two further penalties from Howson early in the second half brought the visitors within three points at 19-16 but Salem hit back when centre Christian Bourne scorched in for a try to extend his team's lead to 24-16.

However, Skipton were not going to go down without a fight and a converted try brought them back to within a point at 24-23.

To the relief of the home supporters, Salem increased the intensity in the final quarter and, after Whata made amends for his earlier mistake with a try converted by Davies, Ashworth went over for his second try from a rolling maul to seal a 36-23 victory.