Keighley 24

Old Crossleyans 12

AFTER two defeats, Keighley made it third time lucky to grab their first Yorkshire Division One win of the season in an entertaining game of open rugby that could have gone either way.

After a period of midfield impasse, Crossleyans, playing to their strengths, moved the ball freely between forwards and backs which made space for full-back Callum Dunne to cross unopposed. Outside-half Joe Gallagher kicked the conversion.

Keighley responded well, the half-back partnership of scrum-half George Marshall and outside-half Grayson Tihema were really on form, probing for weakness at every opportunity.

Both teams were intent on playing open rugby to suit the warm sunny conditions.

Although defences dominated eventually, Keighley forwards, ably led by captain Shaun Minikin, forced the opposition back, patient build-up and a slick flat pass from Tihema gave hooker Declan Hampson a run in under the posts, converted by winger Jack Atkinson.

The second half saw Keighley beginning to believe in themselves, direct hard work from the forwards provided quick possession which gave the backs chance to show their skills.

A dynamic break through midfield by second row James Fox found centre Sean Kelly in support, who in turn managed to find number eight Will McLaughlin on the charge and a well-taken try.

Crossleyans were stung into action, good lineout possession and rugged forward play from their back row especially captain Martin Hamer pushed Keighley to their limits.

In previous weeks they would have succumbed to the pressure.

However, some first-rate defensive work kept the opposition at bay.

After absorbing the pressure Keighley managed to break out of defence, full-back Matty Langstaff was superb, he broke through a massed defence to link up with centre Kelly who made ground before finding his fellow centre Rich Tillotson who dodged his way over the line to score.

Once again Crossleyans pressured yet were unable to force their way through a determined well-organised defence.

Langstaff once again managed a half-break through a tight defence to link up with his team-mates, some good handling gave man of the match Kelly a chance to crash through defenders to score under the posts, converted by Atkinson.

Crossleyans, chasing the game, forced their way back into contention, good skills and a lapse in defence gave their forwards chance to cross for a try wide out.

The last 10 minutes of the game saw Keighley showing a high degree of composure kept Crossleyans trapped in their own half, try as they might they were unable to break free to gain any sort of foothold in Keighley territory.

A well-earned if somewhat unexpected victory that stemmed from a superb team effort. This Saturday Keighley are again at home, hosting West Leeds.