AFTER an enforced two week lay-off due to the weather, Skipton were keen to get back into match action but a first try at pace from full-back Luther Hall was not enough to keep second placed Vandals at bay.

Vandals have the heaviest pack in Yorkshire Three and, with Skipton being light in the second row this week, a result for Vandals was always on the cards. If you win the scrums, you usually win the games.

Skipton were not intimidated and started strongly, with probing kicks from skipper Josh Nkwo at stand-off. Skipton secured the early lineouts and a break by centre Anthony Chapman saw him brought down just yards short with a high tackle. Jonny Tomes-Green converted the penalty to open the scoring.

The restart kick did not go ten yards. The scrum back to Skipton saw the heavy Vandals pack dominate. The hosts scrabbled the ball away but a penalty to Vandals for a technical error on the ground saw them level the score with a long-range kick from the half-way line.

Skipton were straight back and a try at pace by Hall from a well worked move by Nkwo and the experienced Hamish Munro at outside centre set the Sandylands stand alight. Tomes-Green added the extras.

Ten minutes before half-time, ex-Yorkshire Colt Joe Hayes took a stinger to his shoulder and had to retire. Jordan Wilson came into the pack and Skipton ran the minutes down to the break.

Skipton again started the second-half strongly but, with the front row under pressure, injuries were bound to come and heavy-weight prop Tom Allsop was soon off with a compressed neck. The versatile Anthony Chapman came into No. 8 and the ever-reliable Callum Patrick joined the back line.

The game wore on. Skipton's defence was rock solid. Vandals realised that they were not going to win the game with open rugby, so had to rely on penalties. Skipton conceded one for not releasing and the score was 10-6. They did it again and it was 10-9. A third penalty saw an unsuccessful kick from behind the half-way line fall short, but an adjudged forward pass in front of the posts handed the game to the Vandals. They were over from the scrum for an unconverted try and the score stood at 10-14 to the Vandals.

The Vandals gained two further penalties in the last three minutes, the final one being the last kick of the game, again from behind the half-way line, to deny Skipton even a losing bonus point.

However, Skipton can take much from this game forward into the second half of the season. They played some tremendous rugby and have held both the league leaders and the second placed team very close in their last two fixtures.