Guisborough 12

Keighley 16

KEIGHLEY made it two successive wins for 2019 with a hard-fought win over bottom-placed Guisborough in Yorkshire Division One.

Playing some neat rugby involving multiple phases and slick off loading, the hosts pressured early on.

It was in many respects a re-run of the previous week's game, a 18-13 win at Old Crossleyans, where the Keighley defence was solid especially in the centre and the strong centre partnership of Adam Horsfall and Sean Kelly put in some seriously big hits.

After absorbing the early pressure, Keighley began gaining territory and whenever the ball got to winger Joe Copperwaite or full back Jake Duxbury there was always a threat, which in the end led to a penalty for Alex Brown.

Guisborough, full of running, spurned a kickable penalty choosing instead a lineout on the Keighley five-metre line. Once again, try as they might, there was no way through the tight knit Keighley forwards. A further penalty from Brown settled the visitors' nerves.

The Keighley forwards held up well in both attack and defence and were able to provide good possession, which gave the backs chance to move the ball quickly.

Slick hands and a gap in the defence allowed Copperwaite to make ground before an inch-perfect pass to supporting number eight Leigh Sugden, who crashed over in the corner. Alex Brown did well to land the difficult conversion.

The final minutes of the half was a purple patch for the visitors, camped in Guisborough territory, Kelly forced his way over the line but was adjudged to have been held up.

Guisborough made a whirlwind start to the second period, quickly gaining ascendency.

With second rower Michael Henderson leading the way they powered their way into the Keighley half, forcing a penalty.

Once again they chose to kick to touch, this time the tactic worked, clean possession. A big drive and a try for busy wing forward Mathew Flint, winger PJ Fincken-Hayes added the difficult conversion.

Keighley managed the pressure and forced their way to the opposition try line, but were too eager, which led to mistakes and allowed the defence to nullify some promising work.

Their efforts were eventually rewarded with a penalty that Brown converted.

The middle period of the half was deadlocked, there was plenty of movement and energy, and some end to end stuff but no real chance of scoring, as both defences were really well organised.

Guisborough, although bottom of the league, had gained 13 losing bonus points against some good teams.

It was easy to see why, they never give up. Right to the bitter end they forced Keighley to absorb wave after wave of attack.

Almost on the whistle their efforts paid dividends and a further losing bonus point when Fincken-Hayes crossed in the corner.