Old Crossleyans 13

Keighley 18

KEIGHLEY made a great start to 2019 with victory at Old Crossleyans in Yorkshire Division One.

Sheer determination and the will to win gave them their first away triumph against their high-flying hosts.

At the start Crossleyans threw everything they had at their visitors, who were pinned in their half for extended periods. Superb blanket defence kept the attackers at bay.

Eventually, Keighley managed to get some decent possession, moving the ball wide they looked liked scoring but for an adjudged forward pass.

The game then settled into a midfield impasse, try as they might, Crocs with a lot of possession were given little room to operate, the Keighley forwards were holding their own and the mid channels were firmly dominated by strong centres Adam Horsfall and Alan Ebbrell who were relishing their defensive duties.

In order to break the deadlock, Croc’s outside half Joe Gallagher delivered a perfect cross kick into the hands of big winger Chris Vine who scored under the posts, converted by full back Callum Dunne.

Keighley, with belligerent scrum half Lucas Uren forcing himself at the opposition, raised the tempo of their game, some lovely hands gave number eight Ryan Gibson space, he quickly broke the defence and only a last-ditch effort stopped him short.

There followed a purple patch of play for Keighley, where they came very close to scoring on at least three occasions.

The only rewards for their efforts was a penalty for Alex Brown, which was followed a few minutes later with penalty for Crocs kicker Dunne.

The Keighley effort was finally rewarded when quick hands found winger Joey Sugden, who did well to cross in the corner.

At the start of the second half it was Keighley’s turn to start strongly, second rows James Fox and Luke Carter were making the hard yards which gave the backs chance to show their skills. Once again, good defence nullified any chances.

All the good work was cancelled out when Crocs gained a penalty for a high tackle, converted by Dunne.

The Keighley forwards, holding their own in the scrums and lineout, began to pressure the opposition, so much so that the Crocs scrum half was yellow carded.

Keighley took advantage of the extra man, a well worked move gave strong running full back Jake Duxbury half a chance, cutting inside he wrong footed the last defender to score. Alex Brown added the conversion.

Two points in front, the visitors were being drawn into a nail-biting finish. Crocs, intent on chasing the game, threw everything they had at the visitors.

Keighley were defending as if their lives depended on it, the pressure built up and often over spilled into minor niggles that the referee dealt with well.

Finally, the tension was too much for the Crossleyan’s scrum half who was red carded for foul play. Alex Brown finished the scoring with a penalty.

This was without doubt Keighley’s best all round performance of the season thus far, a victory built on sheer character and determination. They will be hoping to repeat the performance at Guisborough this Saturday.