A WEEK earlier, Keighley RUFC would have done anything to stop Goole winning.

But on Saturday, they were hugely indebted the Counties One Yorkshire leaders, who won their derby 22-13 at third-placed Beverley.

That meant the hosts narrowly missed out on a losing bonus point, good news for Keighley, who came nowhere near getting one in a thumping 38-7 loss at Old Rishworthian.

Goole's win means they are officially champions with three games to spare, guaranteeing them promotion, while how many others go up will be determined by where Yorkshire sides finish in the divisions above.

And Keighley will be very much looking over their shoulders after Saturday's reverse.

They are still second, level with Beverley but holding a superior points difference, yet both are now only three points clear of Wetherby, who thumped Leodiensian 42-10 at the weekend.

Even Rish have an outside chance of finishing as runners-up, as they sit on 55 points, just 10 behind Keighley and Beverley.

Dan McGee's Keighley side have had a patchy away record all season, and this was their fourth defeat in nine games on the road.

They like to play a fast, passing game, as McGee explained to the Keighley News last week, but that is much easier on their artificial home pitch, where they have a perfect record in the league this term.

But muddy winter pitches and big packs have given them some grief this season, which was the case in their 17-0 defeat at Goole nine days ago.

Keighley actually went in front at Rish on Saturday, capitalising on a loose ball that had popped free from a scrum, and they were right in the game still at half-time, only 17-7 behind.

But a cynical high tackle saw the visitors concede a penalty try soon after the break, and the result was never in doubt from then on, as Rish crossed the whitewash twice more to wrap up a convincing win.

Keighley will be desperate to hold on to second spot now, but they will at least fancy their chances of winning at home to Huddersfield Laund Hill on Saturday, who sit third-bottom with just five wins from 19 games so far.