Yorkshire One: Keighley 21 York 34

KEIGHLEY pushed league leaders York to their limits but were unable to prevent them winning their ninth game out of nine.

The visitors started at a hundred miles an hour, hoping that a high-tempo game would disrupt the home side.

However, the Keighley defence, led by centres Adam Horsfall and Alan Ebbrell, held firm.

Defence was quickly turned into attack and a dropped ball in midfield was quickly shipped to Rob Baldwin, who chose the direct route through a number of players. Sam Booker continued the move before neatly flicking a pass to 17-year-old debutant wing forward Tom Willson, who scored and Alex Brown converted.

Good ball from the forwards gave outside half Brown the chance to create some space which allowed winger Joe Copperwaite to carve his way through the midfield to sprint unopposed to the line, Brown again converting.

York were forced to tighten their game and made more use of their solid forwards, especially speedy No 8 Shane Goulding.

Power play through the middle and a series of rucks near the Keighley line gave scrum half Toby Atkin the chance to dive through a gap to score, full back Jon Dawes adding the extras.

York pressured Keighley into conceding a number of penalties. Instead of kicking they chose to scrummage in order to use their forwards to full advantage.

An excellent spell of possession and a subtle change of direction in attack caught Keighley unaware and the result was a well-taken try in the corner for wing forward Lewis Hannibal, Dawes adding the difficult conversion.

At the start of the second half York were determined to put Keighley to the sword, returning to their high-tempo game.

They used their big men to drive up field, causing the home defence to narrow and winger Rob Hodges took advantage to score, Dawes converting.

York pressure continued but so did Keighley's excellent defence before the hosts were judged offside and Dawes kicked over the penalty.

Showing a great deal of character, Keighley refused to give in. Second row Stuart Inman and the whole back row gained hard yards as they forced their way to the York line.

A series of penalties ensued, which Keighley chose to tap and go. The direct approach worked when Dan Snowden was driven over in the corner, Brown adding the difficult conversion.

York were determined to close the game out and more pressure saw another penalty kicked by the sure-footed Dawes.

Then they moved the ball wide to give substitute Gareth Singleton the space to round the defence and score in the corner. Dawes, who had an immaculate game with the boot, did the rest.

In search of a losing bonus point, Keighley controlled the final stages and were camped in opposition territory.

Unfortunately try-line fever led to some sloppy handling and the failure to convert good play into points.

Keighley head to Middlesbrough in the league this Saturday.