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Chairman salutes Keighley's promotion
1:26pm Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Keighley
Keighley chairman Sam Griffin praised the players and coaching staff for their ‘exceptional’ effort in gaining promotion to North One East.
The Rose Cottagers beat Alnwick 18-16 in a play-off last Saturday to cap an amazing second half of the season.
Keighley won 12 out of their last 13 league games – including all of their final six – to finish second in Yorkshire One and set up the winner-takes-all clash at the Durham & Northumberland Division One side.
And Dave Lister’s men finished the job, overturning a 16-3 half-time deficit to claim victory and send their band of more than 150 supporters home delighted.
Griffin said: “Yorkshire One is a hard league and to gain promotion is quite exceptional.
“It is down to hard work and good coaching.”
Lister has achieved promotion in his first year as head coach since retiring as a player but Griffin was quick to share the praise across the whole backroom staff.
He said: “Dave has done an excellent job, along with Tim Brunskill, Kevin Young and Graeme Sheffield.”
He also paid tribute to the club’s blossoming junior section, which has played a big part in helping to produce the promotion-winning squad.
“Most of them are home-grown players,” said Griffin. “There are only two players – Marco Ferrazzano and Danny Price – who haven’t come through our ranks.
“Our junior section is really thriving year on year.”
Though it took them a while to find their stride, Keighley have gone from strength to strength as the season progressed, losing just once since Christmas.
Adding expansive rugby to their traditional forward-based power, the Utley side have demonstrated their prowess across the park.
Griffin said: “We have played a more open, attractive 15-man game.
“We’ve thrown the ball around but our defence has also been good.”
Griffin was delighted with the amount of support Keighley received at Alnwick. He said: “I was taken aback by the numbers who turned up. It was tremendous.
“We out-shouted the home crowd but they were very good too. The occasion was a credit to rugby in general.”
Scrum half Lucas Uren echoed similar sentiments on the club website. He posted: “Thanks everyone for your support and contribution to the club.
“It was amazing running on to the pitch with all of you behind us.”
Celebrations went on long into the night back at Rose Cottage but the club will soon be turning their attentions to the new campaign at the higher level.
Director of rugby Sheffield said: “We are having a meeting this week to discuss the season just finished and next season, and one thing we want to crack is that we are notoriously slow starters – it is going to be difficult but we tried something different last season and that didn’t work.
“We lost 47-5 against Skipton in the Yorkshire Shield last August but since then we have gone upwards and they have gone in the opposite direction.”