JUBILANT coach Alfie Hill hailed a fantastic defensive display as York Acorn ARLC beat high-flying Skirlaugh 12-6 in the National Conference premier division.

The impressive victory moved the resurgent Blue and Golds up to seventh place, well clear of the relegation scrap.

Having stormed into a 12-0 half-time lead, Acorn were forced onto the back foot for long periods of the second half.

However, their resolute display drew high praise from Hill.

“Skirlaugh threw everything at us in the second half, but it was an absolutely fantastic defensive performance,” he said.

“We have only let in six points in our last two games and that is a superb effort.”

Acorn fielded play-makers Scott Rhodes, Daz Callaghan and Jon Liddell in the same starting line-up for the first time this season, and they were at the heart of the club’s attacking threat.

The visitors went ahead after 14 minutes when Stephen Mackley intercepted a long pass and outpaced a posse of chasing Skirlaugh players to touch down in the corner.

Kyle Palmer kicked a brilliant conversion from the touchline to give his side a 6-0 advantage.

Acorn went on the offensive straight from the restart, with Rhodes handing on to Palmer and he ran 60 metres to touch down under the posts.

His conversion made it 12-0 at the interval.

Hill preached the importance of keeping a high completion rate in the second period and Acorn obliged.

Skirlaugh managed to break through to score a converted try on 62 minutes, but the Blue and Golds refused to buckle.

Hill added: “The commitment, passion and will to win was there, and the travelling support we had also made a difference.”

The man of the match award went to Mike Embleton for his work rate and telling runs.

However, try scorers Mackley and Palmer were outstanding throughout, while both Davey Burns and Liddell shone in defence.