IT WOULD be a brave man or woman who predicted who would have won Keighley’s home match against Beverley, which ended 11 minutes early due to referee Andy Baker pulling a hamstring.

The visitors, who are third in Counties One Yorkshire and increasingly had the edge in the backs, had just scored a converted try to only trail 19-17 against the second-placed hosts, who had the better of things in the forwards.

Normally, the result stands if the game has gone beyond the hour mark, but there may yet be a replay instead, given the match was in the balance and could have a serious impact on the promotion race at the end of the season.

For now that is yet to be officially confirmed, but speaking after the game, Keighley’s head coach Dan McGee said: “The last 10 minutes (had they been played) would have been very interesting and it would have been a flip of a coin to say how things would have gone.”

The most pleasing thing for McGee was that his team reacted positively to the previous weekend’s 32-20 defeat at West Leeds.

He said: “It was about, from a coaching point of view, that we came out and performed and wanted it more than we did the previous week, and it was a pleasing reaction.

“The game went in waves, but I think that we controlled the majority of the match against Beverley.

“We controlled the territory, but they were very dangerous on the loose ball and the break, which we knew about.

“Sometimes we could deal with it and sometimes we couldn’t, but we put a few things in place at half-time with our width and our spacing.

“For a long time, we managed to nullify things, but towards the last 10 minutes they got a try to make it very interesting.”

McGee added: “Our boys worked hard enough to deserve that victory, and we said that in the changing room, but no-one wants to win in a situation like that.

“We would rather have gone the full distance.”

The most controversial decision by referee Baker was his decision to disallow a try by home skipper Tom Whyte in front of the clubhouse just before half-time.

McGee said: “Everybody who could see it said that it was a try, including the players.”

On an afternoon where Rose Cottage staged the only game of the day in the division, the temperature hovered between zero degrees and minus one.

Not even wearing a pair of gloves could stop spectators from feeling the cold through their fingers.

Adam Horsfall and Ben Blackwell resumed their centre partnership for Keighley for the first time in eight seasons, with the latter on loan from Wharfedale on a week-by-week basis.

Home fly-half Alex Brown soon put Keighley on the offensive with two kicks to Beverley’s right-hand corner and then almost dummied his way through.

That early paid off when home lock Ed Keighley forced his way over after five minutes, with Brown converting.

Beverley then took advantage of the hosts conceding a penalty two minutes later in their own 22.

The visitors caught them napping, with winger Jake Boardman going over on the left after an assist from centre Jacob Holmes.

Fly-half and skipper Rob Smith’s conversion made it 7-7, and the warning was not heeded in the 11th minute when Holmes cut through again, only for possession to be lost.

Keighley scrum half Leon Hobson-Sheriff then darted through but lacked support, and prop Sam Booker’s powerful drive ended with him losing his right boot.

Beverley again showed their liking for attacking from a loose ball, Boardman hacking on in the 23rd minute before spilling the ball near the Keighley line.

There were howls of disbelief from home fans two minutes later when a late tackle on Hobson-Sheriff went unpunished, before speedy Beverley full-back Luke Hazell combined with Boardman on the half-hour, only for the ball to be dropped again.

Keighley spectators were again baffled when referee Baker stopped play inside the Beverley 22 when a visiting player was on his knees injured.

That halted the home side’s momentum after a continuous attack, and then came the disallowed try by Whyte near the Beverley posts, leaving the half-time score at 7-7.

The visitors lost hooker Andy Meagher to injury a minute into the second half and went behind when Hobson-Sheriff dived over in the 48th minute on the right.

A Smith penalty, given when Keighley full-back Alan Ebbrell chased an up and under but was in front of the kicker, reduced the deficit to 12-10 in the 51st minute.

But Keighley extended their lead four minutes later when Blackwell’s pass out of the back door gave Sam Blakeley the chance to score in the corner, although the right winger still had plenty to do.

Brown converted superbly, and Keighley were now leading 19-10 as the freezing fog started to roll in, but there was no missing how dangerous Beverley’s backs were becoming.

Holmes and Boardman again combined to good effect and a try was ruled out for a forward pass.

A minute later, Holmes went over for a try that Smith converted, but referee Baker then decided that his hamstring injury was getting worse and called a halt to proceedings.