DESPITE suffering from a severe lack of training time, Keighley Albion's U11 side put in a massive effort against Swillington on Saturday in their first game of the season.

The final score was harsh on Keighley, but reflected the fact that Swillington an established team with many seasons of building the rapport, commitment and dedication required to produce a winning team.

The match got off to a flying start, with Swillington scoring inside the first five minutes, and they kept up that dominance throughout the half with further tries.

But the Keighley youngsters kept their heads up to attack the Swillington end and finally, Caden Jones picked up the ball two yards from the touchline and scored.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Swillington remaining in charge of the ball.

But Keighley showed their resilience and didn’t let this affect their gallant efforts. This determination resulted in two more tries, one from Aryan Butt and another from Caden, who also converted his kick.

The match was never really about the score, it was about positive attitudes, ball skills and working together. The Keighley boys showed some real promise on the pitch.


Special Merit – Caden Jones and Aryan Butt

Players Player – Owen Clark-Strickland

Spectators Player – Riley Bailey

Opposition Player – Riley Parkinson

Meanwhile, Albion's U7 side travelled to Leeds-based Stanningley, setting up a West Yorkshire derby in their first Yorkshire Junior League fixture of the 2020 season.

The Albion side were full of confidence and excitement following their friendly match against West Craven last week.

However, with Stanningley being widely recognised as one of the leading amateur clubs in the game, they were always likely to be well coached, disciplined and organised.

The fact that former Stanningley and Leeds Rhinos Super League player Jamie Jones-Buchanan was watching from the sideline only cemented their standing as one of the top community clubs in the game.

But after working hard over pre-season and introducing some great new players such as Gray Chamley, Lucas Haddington and Oscar Drake, there is some real quality in the Keighley side

A brilliant defensive display across the team was on show, with Lucas, relentless and fully committed in all aspects of the game, putting in a staggering 32 tackles.

Jaden Lee and George Lever, with 14 tackles apiece, also led the line expertly well.

Albion were a threatening force in attack too. Gray, a rugby union convert, managed an amazing eight tries and a stunning try-saving tackle, while Oscar, in only his second game for the age group, grabbed six scores of his own.

Logan Spencer completed six offloads, while Teddy O’Gara and Theo Miller both played brilliantly to give the physical Stanningley team some real problems with their footwork.

Robbie McNulty, Isaac Birkett, Jacob Kershaw, George Watson and Alex Mortimer had superb all round games - each of them crossing the whitewash at least once for some really well-taken tries.

A fantastic performance all round, and every young player who pulled a shirt on for the game should be really proud of their efforts.


Albion Reds Man of the Match: Gray Chamley

Albion Blacks Man of the Match: Jaden Lee

Opposition Man of the Match: Jaden Lee

Top Tackler: Lucas Haddington

The club thanked Stanningley for its hospitality, as well as parents and volunteers at Albion for their continued support.

Elsewhere, Keighley Albion's U8 side opened their league campaign with a home fixture against Oulton Raiders.

Albion went into the game after a disjointed pre-season, only playing one friendly prior to the first league game.

The U8s have been a dominant team in previous seasons, priding themselves on strong defence.

The game started with no scores, as either side went set for set at each other.

But the Raiders finally broke the deadlock, which shocked the Albion youngsters as they had never been in that position before.

Albion hit back with some strong defence. Big hits by Henry Dibbin and George Patterson saw the game open up slightly and a superb strong run from Patrick Gaskin resulted in a try for him.

Then, some swift passing from Eli Condren and the fast feet of George Simpson sent Cody Ackroyd over for a try.

The offloading of Alfie Ackroyd and Matthew Broughton created real problems for Oulton, allowing Albion’s new recruits Jacob Davis and Harry Muir to get over the whitewash.

Oulton Raiders were tough, aggressive and skilful, hitting back with a number of scores,

But the Albion side's never give up attitude led to some grit and determination in defence, with the ubiquitous George Simpson tackling his heart out in what was an evenly matched game between two great sides.

Keighley's attitude remained positive throughout, despite what was a bruising encounter.

Albion's Man of the Matches: George Simpson, Henry Dibbin and Patrick Gaskin.

Oulton's Opposition Man of the Matches: Henry Dibbin, Cody Ackroyd and George Patterson.

Finally, Albion's open age first team played their first friendly of 2020, hosting Farnley Falcons at on Saturday.

Second half tries from powerhouse Jack Adams and a last minute effort by Kieran Blakeley were just not quite enough, as Callum Hudson’s conversion and last kick of the game was pulled left of the upright.

The game finished 16-14 in Farnley's favour, but it was at least good first run out for the team and an opportunity to brush off the cobwebs following all the hard work of pre-season.

Sadly, the youngsters and open age team will not be back in action for a while, after Albion's chairman Richard Dibbin provided the following statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic:

"Following advice and guidance from the RFL, and Yorkshire Junior League, ALL training and fixtures are to be halted with immediate effect for all junior ages and open age.

"This will take effect from Monday, March 16 until initially April 18/19 at a minimum.

"The length of this will depend on ongoing advice and guidance from the leagues and the Government, which is changing on a very regular basis.

"These are unprecedented times and we understand that decisions made will not please everyone.

"However our decision and that of the RFL/YJL is taken in the best interests of our player, coach and volunteer welfare.

"Please take care and we hope to see you all back on the rugby field very soon.

"We will keep everyone updated with any changes or developments to this."