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Keighley injury crisis deepens ahead of Sheffield visit
Keighley Rugby Union Club are having to contend with massive injury problems as they bid to establish themselves in SSE North One East.
Graeme Sheffield, director of rugby at Rose Cottage, said: “Our fixture secretary Alden Phillips has given me the facts and figures and we currently have 27 players out injured or unavailable at the club.
“The latest two are Lucas Uren, who has come back from South Africa with a knee injury, and Harry Titley, who has a perforated ear drum.
“On most Saturdays last season we fielded four teams, but this weekend we can only field two.
“But we are enjoying what we see as a journey in North One East.
“In three years’ time, we want to be considered as a North One East club rather than as a Yorkshire Division One club, which is what we are known as now.”
Despite their injury crisis, Keighley have made a solid start in the higher division, winning two out of their first five matches to sit seventh in the table.
But they were heavily beaten last weekend, going down 47-9 at leaders Wheatley Hills and things don’t get much easier for them this Saturday as they host second-placed Sheffield.
However, the Utley supremo took great pride in his team’s performance five days ago, saying: “Wheatley Hills were not only the best side that we have played this season, they were the best side that we have played for quite a few seasons.
“They were a stone and a half heavier on average in the pack and their backs were very well drilled.
“Wheatley Hills will not only win this division, they will walk it, but I was proud of the way that we stuck at it.
“They scored three tries in the first half from as many attacks and got two late tries but we are proud of the fact that all 18 of our players on view were local, and all of our coaching staff – apart from me.
“Wheatley Hills are in their fourth season in this division. They finished mid-table in their first two seasons, were in the top four last season and are set for promotion this time.
“But they seemed genuinely pleased that we are in North One East and it was nice to renew acquaintances with them after being rivals in Yorkshire One.”
The directory of rugby said of Saturday’s opponents: “They won’t pose as much of a physical threat as Wheatley Hills.
“It will be a tough test but it is one that we are looking forward to.”
Sheffield were promoted from Yorkshire One two seasons ago after they finished second behind Malton & Norton.