A SECOND half brace from both Brad and Carl Nicholson secured victory for Skipton by the narrowest of margins over local rivals West Park Leeds on Saturday.

With the sides lying fifth and sixth respectively in Yorkshire Three, this was always going to be a closely contested encounter, and so it proved to be.

The fixture also saw the 1st team debut for two Skipton Colts, now eligible to play senior rugby. Luther Hall started at full-back and Joe Hayes came off the bench into the back row after 25 minutes. Both youngsters gave exemplary performances and were a credit to both themselves and the Club.

Some hard early exchanges resulted in a penalty to West Park within kickable range, which they slotted to take the lead. They continued to put pressure on Skipton's line with a scrum close in, gaining a penalty for Skipton off-side. They tapped and ran but were held up. Skipper Hamish Munro put in a kick and chase from the goal line drop-out. Second-row Harry Maltby took a knock to the head in the melee and had to leave the field, being replaced by Carl Nicholson.

West Park had a very heavy pack and continued pressure on Skipton's line gave them an unconverted try just before half-time, to go into the break with an 8-0 lead.

Skipton started the second half well. An early penalty came to nothing, but this was soon followed by a superb individual try from second-row Brad Nicholson, who broke through the line 40 metres out and stormed down field to score under the posts. Stand-off Lewis Reynoldson added the extra points.

Centre Callum Patrick picked up a knock to the leg and was replaced by Jamie Carroll who makes the weekly journey from Cheshire to turn out for Skipton.

West Park would not let up though and continued to pile the pressure on Skipton, resulting in a line-out close in from which they gained a second unconverted try from the rolling maul.

Some tenacious play by Skipton from the re-start, with hooker Charlie Brown to the fore, took Skipton down field and Carl Nicholson was over from the ruck on West Park's line. Reynoldson added the extra points and Skipton had edged into the lead with eight minutes remaining on the clock. Skipton knew that they had to hang onto the ball at all costs, which they did with grit and determination.

That was that, as the referee signalled that time was up and Reynoldson punted into touch to end a very hard-fought game that Skipton edged 14-13.

It should be a time of rest for Skipton and their players after the conclusion of a long and challenging campaign, however, their postponed fixture at Castleford has been rearranged for Saturday April 1, but will now take place at Skipton.

Elsewhere, Wharfedale didn't have a fixture to contest with, but they return to action at home to Sheffield Tigers on Saturday.