Keighley 13 Old Crossleyans 32

KEIGHLEY put up a better performance but suffered their third straight loss of the new Yorkshire Division One season.

Even though the scoreboard showed a heavy defeat for the hosts, they were competitive up until the last 10 minutes of a high-energy entertaining game.

The initial stages of the match were very much a stalemate, the forwards cancelled each other out and the backs made full use of the wide open spaces.

The first score was a penalty for Crossleyans winger Gareth Sweeney. Keighley, with the half-back combination of Alex Brown and Jake Duxbury, working well, gained good field position and, after some excellent phase play, young winger Josh Slingsby cut inside to beat two defenders to score. Brown added the conversion.

Keighley, with a stubborn defence, led by second rows Smith Brown and James Fox resisted a number of attacks.

However, almost on the stroke of half-time, Crossleyans mounted an attack down the middle which led to second row Tony Oxley breaking through to score under the posts. Sweeney added the conversion.

In the second-half Crossleyans raised their game, some poor tactical kicking early in the half gifted them possession and the chance for their excellent back row to dominate, which led to a well-taken try for wing forward Billy Hammond, extras added by Sweeney.

The middle section of the half was an arm wrestle with both defences dominating, the only scoring were two penalties for Alex Brown and one for the opposition’s Gareth Sweeney.

Keighley, through skill and determination, forced play deep into Crossleyan territory but poor lineout skills let them down, allowing Crossleyans to break free.

As time was running out, Keighley tried to force the pace, a loose pass in midfield was intercepted by open-side wing forward Iain Davies, who raced away to score. Sweeney added the easy conversion.

At the death, Keighley ran out of steam and failed to stop a wide move down the right, Iain Davies was the extra man and a well-taken try in the corner.

Old Crossleyans, having won their last 12 games, played with confidence and, on balance, greater competence and deserved their victory.

Having said that the Keighley performance was much better than the previous two weeks and hopefully will give them the impetus they need in the coming weeks of a tough league season.