SKIPTON'S five game winning run came to an end by the narrowest of margins in a very tight game at Sandylands.

A pair of tries by brothers Brad and Carl Nicholson at either end of the game set the Sandylands crowd alight, but two missed conversions were the margin and Skipton came away with only a losing bonus point from a very hard shift.

Early pressure by the Vandals brought them close to Skipton's line. They had the majority of the possession in the first ten minutes but Skipton steadied their nerves and worked their way into Vandals' 22. Determined forward play saw second-row Brad Nicholson over for the opening points of the game, after a bullocking run from 20 metres out. The conversion attempt drifted wide.

Skipton centre Tom Handforth had to leave the field of play from the re-start with an ankle injury, being replaced by utility back row Josh Taylor. A penalty in the next move to Vandals for a Skipton high-tackle was converted to bring the score 5-3.

Some combative play by the Vandals pinned Skipton back and they were over, but held up. Skipton centre Callum Patrick received a yellow card for going over the top. Vandals opted for the scrum but were penalised for collapsing and Skipton punted into touch for half-time.

An early penalty to Skipton for Vandals handling on the ground saw winger Lewis Reynoldson slot the kick to stretch their lead to 8-3. Vandals gained a penalty from the re-start, put the ball into the corner and were over for a try from the line-out. The conversion attempt was good and Vandals went into the lead by two points.

Skipper Hamish Munro picked up a yellow card in the melee and Skipton went into the re-start with 14 men but a counter attack by stand-off Josh Nkwo took the home side close. They gained a penalty under the posts for Vandals holding on at the break-down, which Reynoldson slotted to put Skipton back in the lead.

The home side gave away two further penalties from the re-start. Vandals put a long-range kick into the corner and were over for a second try from a rolling maul from the line-out. The conversion attempt hit the cross-bar but bounced over, and Vandals were six points clear at 11-17.

An altercation between back-row Jordan Wilson and Vandals' tight head prop saw both players receive a yellow card and the game continued at 14 a side.

A dour last ten minutes ensued, with both sides swapping penalties to no avail. Finally, Skipton tapped and ran, putting back-row Carl Nicholson clear with sheer strength and determination taking him over from 15 metres out.

The conversion attempt drifted wide, leaving Skipton with just a losing bonus point from the afternoon 17-16 to Halifax (FT).