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Salford City Roosters 22 Skirlaugh 36

Salford City Roosters slumped to a home defeat against promotion chasing Skirlaugh
Roosters coach Paul Viller was left feeling “gutted” at the end of the game for the simple reason that the final scoreline in no way reflected the effort that was put in by his team.In fact, the first hour of this game saw the Roosters team play some of the best rugby they have managed all season and they were never behind on the scoreboard until 11 minutes from time. It was a good open game played by two very committed sets of players but at the end of the day the difference was the controversial sending off of Roosters stand off Bradley White on 24 minutes. Playing with a man short for almost an hour eventually took its toll on the Salford team and they just ran out of steam.

Skirlaugh are a very good, well drilled young side but it was the home team that started the game the liveliest and they took the lead on 15 minutes when Andrew Muscat sent Jordan Parker through a gap and then followed the scrum half as he broke across the half way line to take a return pass and race between the sticks, leaving Parker a simple conversion (6-0). The Hull side responded though and forced two goal line drop outs before Alex Foster squeezed just inside the corner flag on 20 minutes, albeit too far out for Carl Puckering to convert (6-4). Then came the controversial incident involving White. The ball went to ground midway in the Skirlaugh half and two players went to kick the ball. The Skirlaugh man got to it first but White had committed himself and tripped the visiting player. It could be argued that the Skirlaugh player was denied a scoring opportunity although with three quarters of the field to cover that was doubtful. In any case, the referee dismissed White.

Skirlaugh immediately forced a third drop out, although it was the Roosters, spurred on by their players’ red card, that surged ahead with two tries, the first converted by Parker, in seven minutes. The first came on 28 minutes when man of the match Joe Connor made a powerful run at the visitors line before Richard Openshaw’s reverse pass sent Ben Connor crashing over the line (12-4). Paul Morgan came up with the second try, taking a pass from Parker direct from a scrum after the visiting full back knocked on a high kick (16-4). It looked like that would be the half time score until two minutes from the whistle when Skirlaugh got a lifeline. A Roosters kick on the half way line was charged down and Harvey Gotts picked up the ball and won the race to the try line where Puckering added his first goal points (16-10).

The second half was only two minutes old when a strong tackle by Mike Foster dislodged the ball and Joe Connor carried 3 defenders over the line with him to stretch the Roosters lead. Parker converted (22-10) but that was to be the Roosters’ last points of the afternoon as Skirlaugh “upped” their game and took advantage of the extra man. Only four minutes after Connors try Puckering sent a kick to the corner where Alex Foster palmed it back inside for Ben Peterson to score, and Puckerings conversion reduced the arrears to 6 points (22-16).

The Roosters ended the game on the wrong end of a 2-11 penalty count and it was two penalties in quick succession that gave Skirlaugh the field position for Scott Mountain to score on 51 minutes, although the missed conversion meant the home side still held a slender lead (22-20).
Skirlaugh did take the lead however on 69 minutes when quick passing across the pitch ended with a unconverted try in the corner for James Potter (22-24) and once they got their noses in front they relaxed and started to show what a class outfit they are. On 73 minutes Puckering dummied to pass and then shot through a gap for a try that he also converted (22-30) and he ended up with a personal point tally of 12 when he converted the final try, a minute from time, when Tom Harrison dived over next to the posts (22-36).

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.