Old Rishworthians 17 Keighley 19

KEIGHLEY claimed victory from a titanic struggle between two teams hovering at the bottom end of Yorkshire Division One.

To add to the difficulties, both teams were handicapped by injuries.

The game started well, the game plans of both teams were quickly apparent. Rishworthians were intent on using their big forwards to gain ground. Keighley wanted to move the ball wide.

After early forays, Keighley’s excellent full-back Richard Tillotson broke out of defence with support from his winger and coach Danny McGee.

After some smart interpassing between forwards and backs Sean Kelly used his strength to force himself over the line, Alex Brown added the conversion.

Alex Brown, at outside-half, intelligently used the wind, his kicks finding good field positions. However, the home defence was resolute.

After absorbing a lot of pressure Rishworthians gained a line-out on the Keighley five-metre line, a take and drive gave their big prop Josh Crickmay a score.

Keighley once again kicking well worked their way downfield.

Some excellent work from the forwards especially prop forward Craig Spencer and second row Luke Carter forced the opposition defence on the back foot.

A lovely flat pass found centre Alan Ebbrell at pace and a well-earned try under the posts; once again Brown added the extras.

In the early stages of the second-half centre Sean Kelly pressured his opposite number which led to a dropped pass, hacking the ball on he miraculously managing to pick up at pace to score.

Rishworthians, to their credit, raised their game and some intelligent kicking from outside-half Josh Kelly and hard determined work from their forwards put Keighley under extreme pressure.

Some strong driving play was finished off by prop Crickmay, a well-deserved second try.

The next 10 minutes of the game was a tense affair with most of the play taking place in midfield.

The Keighley forwards to a man were superb holding off a torrent of fierce driving plays.

Rishworthians, fighting for their lives, forced themselves into the Keighley 22-metre area. A poor kick out of defence did not find touch, Rishworthians took immediate advantage, two smart passes and winger Anthony Shoesmith was over, well converted by outside-half Kelly.

With some five minutes remaining and two points the difference, Keighley managed to keep control of the ball, experienced number eight Leigh Sugden was immense, his forceful leadership of his determined pack meant that play was concentrated in the Rishworthian half and stayed in Keighley possession until the final whistle.

A hard-fought victory away from home that Keighley, on the day, thoroughly deserved.