Pontefract 31

Keighley 15

DESPITE a gallant effort, Keighley stay rooted to the bottom of Yorkshire Division One following defeat at Pontefract.

Keighley, with the pack bolstered by the return of experienced players Will Armitage, Leigh Sugden and Josh Hannah, started well.

Determined driving play from centre Sean Kelly gave the forwards a platform to work off and a try for Hannah.

The lead was short lived, however, when the Pontefract backs, with rugby league backgrounds, were well organised by outside half Glenn Boyd, a half break and a short off the shoulder pass gave hooker Jonny Hill a score wide out.

Keighley pressed again only to be outdone by a piece of magic, a kick out of defence found a winger at full pace, a simple inside pass and a try for supporting full-back Liam Kaye.

Pontefract really turned up the volume and kept Keighley pinned in their own half, good first up defence from the whole team kept them at bay.

Unfortunately, the deadlock was broken when the referee awarded a penalty try for a scrum wheeling. Keighley doubled their efforts and took play to the opposition 22, solid line out possession from second row James Fox, a forward drive and well-earned try for hooker Ryan Gibson.

The second half was dominated by a stalemate in midfield where defences dominated.

Eventually, with Sean Kelly, Rich Tillotson and Alan Ebbbrell making probing runs territory was gained.

A period of intense pressure saw the try line crossed on two occasions, unfortunately the ball was held up.

Pontefract managed to work their way up field gaining a foothold when a handling error earned them a scrum on the 22.

Good work from the backs ended up with a try under the posts for Glenn Boyd, converted by scrum-half Callum Watts.

With the game slipping away and two influential forwards off the field, injured Keighley threw caution to the wind.

Once again, Kelly and Tillotson were influential, quick ball and a narrow defence gave winger Joey Sugden a clear gap and a try wide out.

Although Keighley tried their best they were unable to close the gap, and the Pontefract victory was assured with a try from winger Richard Dedicoat, converted by Watts.

This Thursday night Keighley return to action earlier than expected, in a floodlit game against a strong Heath team in the Yorkshire Shield quarter-finals.

The game was arranged because a number of players from each team will be at Twickenham watching England take on the All Blacks.