Keighley 7

Pontefract 34

ANOTHER difficult Yorkshire Division One game for Keighley, Pontefract with big forwards and swift backs were always going to be a problem.

Early pressure from the visitors, especially their outstanding number eight Gareth Burns, was cancelled out by some strong tackling.

Keighley, although under pressure, worked hard to force openings through their strong centres Rich Tillotson and Sean Kelly.

Eventually the stalemate was broken, a speculative kick out of defence was not dealt with by the home side, instead the ball fell into the hands of speedy winger Richard Dedicoat and a try under the posts converted by scrum-half Callum Watts.

Pontefract’s pattern from this point onwards was clear, two big back row men in midfield to receive line-out ball, then a drive down the middle to narrow the defence on both sides.

The hosts dealt with the pressure well with some excellent work from their back row. Pontefract gaining a good territorial position forced a penalty that Watts converted.

Keighley, trying hard to close the deficit, came unstuck when some passes went adrift, winger Dedicoat swooped on the loose ball and raced over for a try.

Just before half-time the home team put some good passages of play together but were unable to break down the defence.

In the second-half Keighley were intent on chasing the game, determined driving play from the Keighley forwards put Pontefract under pressure and a well-worked try for prop Craig Spencer, converted by captain Alex Brown.

With more possession, Keighley began to look dangerous, second rowers Luke Carter and Adam Kemp were making inroads and the backs on the front foot were using the ball well.

Unfortunately a poor kick to nowhere was fielded by Pontefract, who immediately attacked, two passes and winger Dedicoat was over for his hat trick of tries, the extras added by Watts.

Refusing to give in Keighley pressed, Tillotson managed to break through the defence, a superb tackle from Pontefract centre Craig Fawcett stopped him just short of the line.

Keighley were eventually rewarded for their efforts with a try under the posts for back rower John Gibson, unfortunately the referee was unable to see the grounding and much to the consternation of the spectators the score was disallowed.

The final phases of the game saw Keighley trying too hard to chase the game and the combination of lack of composure and a forceful Pontefract play led to a flurry of points, with a further try for winger Dedicoat and one for his fellow winger Stuart Sanderson, Watts added one of the conversion. Pontefract, on a good run of form, deserved their victory.

Keighley are way to league strugglers Old Rishworthians on Saturday.