AFTER two successive away defeats in Counties One Yorkshire, the late interception try that Keighley conceded to Huddersfield Laund Hill felt like another kick in the teeth.

Instead of collecting four points to go clear in second, Dan McGee’s team drew 21-21 and are now third, locked in a battle with at least two other teams – chiefly Wetherby (level with Keighley on 67 points) and Beverley (65) – to finish as runners-up.

But Keighley felt a little better after the final whistle at Rose Cottage as news filtered through that Beverley, who have to come to Utley for a replayed fixture, had surprisingly lost 40-14 at West Leeds.

Also, second-placed Wetherby are at Beverley next Saturday and away to leaders Goole (22 points clear) the following weekend, when Keighley face Beverley.

Nevertheless, McGee cut a disappointed figure in the changing rooms afterwards, admitting: “It definitely feels like two points dropped when you are winning with not long to go and you are in a very dominant position yet turn the ball over.

“But we didn’t put consistent pressure on the opposition. We did it in fits and starts.

“We had talked in midweek about how we were going to play, and we showed evidence of that and it was definitely a step up from the previous week (at Old Rishworthians), but not to the level that we are capable of.

“It is frustrating, disappointing, and the lads know that. There is no need to tell them.”

Keighley were leading 14-11 at half-time but McGee added: “We didn’t put enough points on the board in the first half and we didn’t have enough ball.

“We spent too much time defending, and when we did have the ball we didn’t put enough phases together.

“We are trying to put our finger on why that was but we are just not clicking or flowing in attack at the minute and we are not being dominant enough at the breakdown.

“That also applies to the two away defeats that preceded this, so we will get back on the training ground and work hard to try and put it right.”

When Keighley scored their third try to lead 21-11 in the 55th minute it looked as if they would not only go on to win but also claim a four-try bonus point.

McGee said: “We need all the bonus points we can get, but to be winning near the end and then only draw was a twist in the tail.

“We gave them three interceptions in the second half to put needless pressure on ourselves but they (Laund Hill) worked hard.

“However, they didn’t earn that draw. We handed it to them.”

On a cold afternoon, Keighley went ahead in the fifth minute after a 50-22 from fly-half Alex Brown.

Skipper Adam Horsfall then cut a good line through Hill’s defence with barely a hand laid on him, and Brown added the conversion.

Horsfall’s next significant contribution was to be sin-binned in the 21st minute for a high tackle on winger Lewis Vernon, with scrum-half Tom Egan slotting the resulting penalty over.

Keighley could not cash in on Brown’s next 50-22, but did score in the 34th minute when lock Ed Keighley burst over for a try which Brown easily improved to make it 14-3.

Laund Hill replied superbly four minutes later though, with full-back Gareth Evans dancing through before giving a one-handed pass to fly-half James Fox, who scored, only for Egan to miss a very kickable conversion.

In first-half injury time, Keighley were penalised on their 10-metre line and Egan stepped up to land a much more difficult kick.

The second half began in scrappy fashion, with Evans being floored and, in a separate incident, Ollie Snowdon being helped off with a knee injury.

Visiting hooker Sam Burt was sin-binned in the 55th minute for rolling an opponent in a tackle, and Keighley cashed in three minutes later when Brown broke cleverly and found Jak Adams on his shoulder to score.

Brown’s conversion made it 21-11 and it seemed that Keighley would pull away from then on, but  it was Laund Hill who claimed the final 10 points to draw as the hosts made too many errors.

Egan kicked a 67th-minute penalty to make it 21-14, and Laund Hill landed a sucker punch with two minutes left when centre Liam Haines intercepted 50 metres out and ran in under the home posts for Egan to convert.

Giving an update on Snowdon's condition, McGee said: “Ollie ended up on crutches with a knee injury so we will see how he is for our next game at Hullensians.

“But we should have Alan Ebbrell back after being unavailable.”