Drighlington 16 Keighley 22
Keighley will visit Sharlston Rovers in the Hamuel Reichenbacher BARLA Yorkshire Cup semi-final on December 1 after a thrilling quarter-final victory at Drighlington.
Keith Dixon’s troops trailed the Pennine League Premier Division outfit 16-6 but fought back to level the score at 16-16 and force extra time.
Keighley man of the match Danny Barrett then put Joe Copperwaite through a gap to score a converted try and clinch a 22-16 victory.
The visitors played up the slope in the first half on a pitch that began cutting up early.
There was some ferocious tackling from both sides as Drighlington took the lead with a good run from their loose forward. He passed the ball out in the tackle to his supporting prop, who bumped his way over for a converted try.
Even in the muddy conditions, both sides made an effort to pass the ball and spread play wide.
Keighley started to make inroads, with hooker Barrett leading the way and props Danny Lunn and Steve Wrench not far behind.
They forced Drighlington to kick the ball dead three times in five minutes.
Keighley’s half-backs Ricky Leatham and Rob Spencer were orchestrating play, edging Keighley closer to the Drighlington line as Jamie Stephenson and Danny Spencer made some good runs.
But it was loose forward Rick Barr who unlocked the Drig defence. He switched play from right to left before passing out to Copperwaite, who scored in the corner before adding the touchline conversion to make it 6-6 at the break.
The first ten minutes of the second half saw the hosts cross the line twice, the first after two kicks forward and the second following a good break down the wing. The latter try was converted to leave Keighley up against it at 16-6 down.
The visitors needed to find new momentum and, with Mathew Mount and Josh Lynam in defence and Chris Atkins and Chris Price in attack, they re-established themselves.
A great run by Lynam saw him crash over the line in the far corner to make it 16-10.
Keighley full back Andy Stokes nearly bagged himself a try after a powerful run saw him held short of the line.
But Jamie Stephenson got Keighley to within two points after a good pass out wide saw a gap open up for him to score down the right-hand side.
It was too far out to be converted and, at 16-14, it looked like there would not be enough time left on the clock. But some bone-crunching tackling forced Drigh-lington to knock on in their 20.
Dissent from the hosts saw Keighley awarded a penalty, which Copp-erwaite landed to take the game into extra time.
The first seven-and-a-half minute period went by in a flash and, with both sides tiring in the second half, it only needed one person to make a break.
Barrett unlocked the Drighlington defence and put Copperwaite through a gap to score out wide and he added the conversion to put Keighley in the lead for the first time.
They held on for a nail-biting couple of minutes to set up a semi-final with Premier Division side Sharlston, winners of the cup in 2009 and 2010.
West Bowling will entertain Nevison Leap in the other semi-final.