YORK RUFC travelled to Lincolnshire knowing that victory was required to put their faltering promotion challenge back on track against a side they had beaten easily in the home fixture in November.

Although they are still on the top of the table, York no longer had a points cushion on the sides just below them and any slip up would send York down the table.

Their results since the New Year of two wins, three losses and a draw were in contrast to those in the first half of the season, of 11 wins and two losses.

Harry Shackleton returned from injury at fly half but loanee Matt Ferguson was unavailable through illness, so Alex Riley came in at scrum half. Kyle Consterdine clocked up his 50th appearance in the York shirt.

Early on York lost the line out and Scunthorpe then took the game to the visitors. Their game plan was simple, use the fly half who could kick the ball a country mile to put the ball in York’s half and then use their large pack to grind York down.

They were helped by their number 7 who was their standout player and influential throughout the game, always first at the breakdown and making ground with ball in hand.

The tactic bore fruit after 7 minutes when they kicked to within 10 metres of the York line, took the ball at the front of the line and scored an easy try. The conversion was missed. 5-0.

From the kick-off York went on the attack, but it was not long before play was back in their half.

York tried to put pressure on their opponents but on the occasions when York managed to break out a loose pass, penalty or knock on meant that momentum and possession was lost.

As a result, they never spent time on the ball and were not able to build up any pressure.

York had to defend desperately and from a rolling maul a try seemed inevitable but was defended, but eventually pressure told and just before the end of the half a second penalty was kicked to take the score to 11-0.

York started the second-half playing the style of rugby their supporters were used to, direct, playing with pace with good interchange between forwards and backs.

It quickly brought them a penalty which was kicked to their opponents 10 metre line. From the line out quick ball amongst the backs allowed centre Angus Barrick to cross the try line. The conversion was a formality for Harry Shackleton. 11-7.

A further score quickly followed, pressure resulted in a penalty for offside on the 22 metre line and again Harry Shackleton had no difficulty. 11-10.

A comeback seemed likely but unfortunately, it was not to be as York’s urgency and pace seemed to desert them and they allowed Scunthorpe to control the remainder of the game.

Scunthorpe scoring a converted try following desperate York defence after 14 minutes to stretch the lead to 18-10.

York managed to reduce the deficit by three points after a further two minutes with another Harry Shackleton penalty, but the remainder of the scoring and the game belonged to the home side.

A further try followed after 19 minutes which although unconverted, took the score to 23-13 and meant that York would have to score at least twice to edge a win.

But Scunthorpe kicked to the 10 metre line and used their forward advantage to cross the line with another rolling maul. The try was converted to stretch the lead to 30-13 after 31 minutes.

There was still sufficient time for the home side to score another converted try from a rolling maul to further stretch the lead to 37-13.

Wins for Harrogate and Heath meant that York dropped to third in the table, and are now reliant in the remaining fixtures, on other sides doing them a favour.

Next week York host bottom of the table Pontefract, when hopefully they will play to their potential and secure a win.