Castleford 24 Skipton 11

SKIPTON took an early lead but there was no joy for them at Castleford's Willowbridge Lane ground, as they fell to a disappointing 24-11 defeat. With three games to play, their position in Yorkshire 3 hangs in the balance.

The game went off at a fast pace, with the sides exchanging a series of penalties for high tackles, off-side and, unusually in the modern game, Castleford feeding at the scrum.

Skipton then entered one of their best phases of the game, exerting great pressure on the home side until a Castleford infringement at the ruck gave the visitors a penalty kick 20 metres out.

Stand off Te Raaki Neha converted to give Skipton an early lead. He got another opportunity a few minutes later for Castleford not releasing, which he again converted to put Skipton 6-0 ahead.

The home side came back from the restart and prolonged pressure on Skipton's line gave them a converted try. Then, they immediately gained a penalty from the restart kick for Skipton going over the top.

The ball was put into the corner and quick hands from the line-out saw them over for another try. The conversion attempt was successful and the sides turned round at 14-6 to Castleford.

Skipton coach Craig Bartlett brought Keenan McConville, Karl Nicholson and Tom Harrison on for the second half and the visitors got off to an excellent start.

The away side won a scrum against the head and a chip through by scrum half Jack McLeod resulted in a further scrum to them just five metres out.

A lightning break from the base of the scrum by McLeod saw him over for a try wide of the posts. The conversion attempt was not successful, but it was a difficult chance given the cross field breeze.

Skipton took the next two scrums against the head but a strong break by Nicholson ended with a knock-on. Castleford soon gained a penalty for a Skipton high tackle but their kick drifted wide of the posts.

The home side then received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on and this time Skipton's attempt at goal went wide.

Castleford made sure with their next attempt, for Skipton handling on the ground, and stretched their lead to 17-11. Skipton were still in contention for a valuable losing bonus point, but it was not to be.

To the dismay of the travelling supporters, Castleford ran in a further try in the last minute of the game to snatch that precious point away.

The try was converted on the stroke of full time to round off Castleford's season and leave Skipton still sweating on their place in the division next season.