22 May 2024

Defeat leaves struggling Villagers in relegation spots

by Mark Chestney

Skirlaugh RLFC’s disappointing start to the season continued when they went down to a home defeat to Ince Rose Bridge to remain second-bottom of the National Conference Division One.

Even a change of the guard on the coaching front didn’t make any difference in this one despite the Villagers being level after 65 minutes.

It started well for the home side when winger Fenton Tansey raced over for a try but it went unconverted by Alex Gilbey. The Ince reply was almost immediate with two tries in a five-minute spell to lead 12-4 after 13 minutes and it was Valentine’s day for sure.

Robbie Valentine crossed the whitewash for their opening try as brother Peter added the conversion with roles reversed on 13 minutes for their lead. Skirlaugh hit back just shy of the half-hour with a Callum Tranmer try as Gilbey this time landed the conversion.

Four minutes from the break Ince extended their lead with a John Holcroft try for a 16-10 half-time lead, but try exchanges continued in the second half.

Kian Hurley grabbed one for Skirlaugh before Mason Fillingham replied for the visitors, but a Kieran Smith home try drew them level at 20 all.

Eight minutes from time Kallem Rodgers went in for an Ince try as Robbie Valentine converted before Peter Valentine added another. Jack Morrison put the icing on the cake with a last-minute one as Peter Valentine landed the conversion to complete the win.

The Villagers have changed their coaching staff after the departure of Lee Roberts. Following a nine-year stint in charge he has taken up a role with Hull KR, and he was highly praised by club commercial manager Simon Kilby in the Ince Rose Bridge match programme for his efforts through his tenure.

Kilby said: “Lee has not only dedicated nine years of his time, hard work and incredible enthusiasm and commitment to the cause of our great club, but he has galvanised us as a unit in a period of the game when we required real energy and enthusiasm.

“Lee has overdelivered in every aspect of this and as a club we are forever indebted for what not only he has put in, but the unconditional support from his wife Kelly and family. We are both grateful and privileged to have had him as our head coach.”

As Kilby said, as one door closes another opens, as Steve Grannon now takes over as head coach and will be ably assisted by Dean Reacher and Matt Danville. The next test for the Villagers to try to get out of the relegation places will be on Saturday, May 4, at home to local East Hull rivals Hull Dockers, kick-off 2.30pm.

Skirlaugh: Jack Danby, Fenton Tansey, Nathan Dunn, Kian Hurley, Will Rustill, Kieran Smith, Jordan Webster, Lloyd Garnett, George Thompson, Tom Danby, Alex Gilby, Callum Tranmer, Josh Oliver Subs: Connor Gilby, Korben Pratt, Keegan Foster, Billy Kay-Bevan

Tries: Fenton Tansey, Callum Tranmer, Kian Hurley, Kieran Smith. Goals: Alex Gilbey 2/4

Referee: Connor Griffiths

Skirlaugh Player of the Match: George Thompson