SKIPTON came so close to making it three out of three at Ovenden Park on Saturday, but came away with two losing bonus points to help their league position.

The statistics were four tries each, with three conversions to Halifax and one to Skipton but, with Skipton camped on Halifax's line for much of the last five minutes, the game could have gone either way.

Skipton made a confident start, with Joe Stapleton on the wing, Michael Tam at scrum-half and Luther Hall at full-back setting the visitors' stall out with incursions into the Halifax 22. It was end to end stuff but a series of penalties to Halifax gave them an early converted try.

Skipton countered straight from the re-start, with a chip through and touch down from centre Hamish Munro, who added the extras himself to level the scores.

Open play then saw Halifax over for their second converted try, with prop Alex Bowdler taking a boot to the face in the tackle and being replaced by Andy Wooler. Skipton maintained the pressure on the home side and were rewarded with a superb try at pace from full-back Luther Hall. The conversion attempt was just wide.

Halifax replied with a kick and chase just before half-time to touch down for a third converted try, taking them into the break with a 21-12 lead.

Skipton began to build up the pressure on Halifax again in the second-half, after a fumble from the kick-off, and Halifax received a red card for illegal and dangerous play on the ground at the break-down. Skipton launched wave after wave of attack on the home side, gained a further penalty, and skipper Anthony Chapman at stand-off produced a superbly placed cross-kick for winger Joe Stapleton to gather and go over for Skipton's third try. The try was not converted and the score stood at 21-17 in Halifax's favour.

Will Havers-Strong came into the Skipton pack to replace Joe Pearson, then Halifax collected two yellow cards and were down to 12 men for infringements at the break-down, with Wooler having to retire with a nose injury and Bowdler re-taking the field. Skipton swung the ball wide and took the lead at 21-22 from a Joe Hayes try from the line-out. The try was not converted but earned the fourth try bonus point.

A very high tackle on scrum-half Michael Tam saw Halifax collect their third yellow of the afternoon. Entering the last ten minutes, the home side came very close but were held up. They returned the goal line drop-out with intense pressure on Skipton's defence and were over for their fourth try to re-take the lead. The conversion attempt was wide.

A desperate last five minutes saw Skipton camped on the Halifax line and the home side pick up a fourth yellow card. Skipton were unable to cross the line, despite fevered attempts by their pack with prop Steve Carroll making carry after carry, putting his body on the line, and they were unlucky to come away with just two losing bonus points.