IT is often said that games are won and lost in the third quarter, as Skipton's end of season encounter with Castleford proved to be the case.

Early pressure from Skipton saw skipper Hamish Munro, this week starting in the centre, break through the line for an individual try under the posts. His fellow centre Callum Patrick added the extra points.

Some excellent work at the line-out from back-row Ed Harrison, taking the ball from Castleford, allowed some foraging runs by second-row Brad Nicholson, forcing a penalty close in for Castleford handling on the ground. Patrick slotted the kick to stretch the home side's lead.

Despite a marvellous tackle into touch by Harrison, Castleford regained possession and swift ball down the line gave the visitors an unconverted try just before half-time and Skipton went into the break with a 10-5 lead from an otherwise unremarkable first half.

The game then burst into life from the re-start. Castleford brought some strong second-half replacements into the back line, in a bid to avoid defeat and possible relegation. Skipton prop Steve Carroll, who has improved with every game since returning from injury, was replaced by stalwart Tom Allsopp for attention to his knee but made his weight felt again in the pack on his return. Skipton Coach Carl Watts also brought Miff Smith into the Skipton forwards.

Castleford stepped on the gas and came close from a short line-out but were bundled into touch and stand-off Lewis Reynoldson cleared from the line-out.

Castleford were not to be denied and quick ball from the break-down and speed down the line saw Skipton struggling. The visitors ran in two converted tries in five minutes to go ahead by 19-10.

Skipton vice-captain Charlie Brown rallied the troops and the home side were straight back at the opposition. A superb cross-field kick from Skipper Munro, following a charge down, pick-up and run by Harrison, saw Anthony Chapman, now at centre, touch down for Skipton's second try. Patrick added the extra points and the home side were trailing by just two.

A penalty for Skipton saw a long-range kick from Reynoldson into the corner. A fracas erupted at the line-out, from which Castleford received a red card. Patrick slotted the resultant penalty and Skipton were ahead 20-19.

Castleford came straight back at Skipton, determined not to lose, and gained a fourth converted try. Neither would Skipton give up, and a chip through by winger Andy McLean saw Skipton steal the ball at the line-out. Swift ball down the line saw Patrick over for Skipton's third try. The scores stood at 26-25 to the visitors with the conversion to take, but there are no fairy stories on rugby fields. A well struck conversion attempt by Patrick himself seemed sure, but the wind caught it at the last second, it hit the post and bounced back in-field.

The referee blew for full-time, and Castleford went home with a five-point league win, which will help their case no end as the league positions at the bottom of the table go down to the wire next week.