Counties One Yorkshire leaders Keighley showed their mettle at the weekend with a superb 32-19 win at mid-table Wensleydale.

After last week’s lacklustre, albeit winning performance at home to struggling Old Rishworthian, the Keighley players were looking for a statement response and there was immediate pressure from them on Saturday.

Keighley’s livewire wing forward Oliver Snowden snatched the ball and set up a blistering attack, which led to an easy kickable penalty.

The ball was instead kicked into the corner, and from the ensuing line-out drive, some neat passing followed to put full back Jack Atkinson over, only for the try to be disallowed due to an infringement.

A few minutes later, another penalty was awarded to Keighley that Alex Brown converted.

Although Wensleydale did their best, they were up against an aggressive defence who dominated at every scrum.

With Brown managing the game well, some lineout ball was driven on, with the ball then released midfield for winger Alan Ebbrell to carve his way through to score and score.

Keighley News: Keighley are constantly indebted to prolific try scorer Alan Ebbrell.Keighley are constantly indebted to prolific try scorer Alan Ebbrell. (Image: John Ashton.)

Brown added the conversion to put the visitors 10-0 up and while Wensleydale tried to hit back by throwing everything they had at the visitors, spending a period of time very near to the Keighley line, the away defence held firm.

Keighley continued to dominate at set-pieces, and one of those led to a further successful penalty for Brown.

Wensleydale desperately fought to get back into the contest, perhaps too hard, with a long pass intercepted by Keighley centre Alfie Seeley.

He raced to the opposition 22 before yet another penalty was awarded to the visitors.

Keighley chose the scrum after that infringement and drove it a full 10 metres, allowing captain Tom Whyte the touch down, Brown added the extras to put his side 20-0 in front.

It got better for the visitors just before the break, with Keighley mounting another attack that was well finished off by hooker Dec Hampson, who scored wide out.

The in-form Brown added the conversion to give his side an impressive 27-0 lead at half-time.

The second half saw Wensleydale hit back in impressive fashion.

With nothing to lose, the hosts showed what they could do by putting Keighley under pressure in all phases of play.

With captain Ed Metcalfe providing quality ball from the lineouts and outside half Jack Reynard managing the point of attack, they looked like a different team.

Keighley were on the ropes and soon conceded their first points of the game, after quick ball from broken play was driven over by No.8 Robert Stanwix, R

Reynard added the conversion and Wensleydale were soon on the scoreboard again.

With an under-pressure Keighley unable to take the play out of their half, the home side scored their second try when Stanwix finished off a slick move in the backs to score in the corner.

Eventually, Keighley managed to stabilise their game through solid work from the pack and sensible play in the backs.

The game became a midfield stalemate, with neither team able to get into scoring positions until the final few minutes of the game.

As full-time approached, Keighley produced one last push, and a fine break through the middle by Ebbrell gave them good field position.

A poor kick out of defence by Wensleydale was then taken by visiting winger Sam Blakeley, who raced into the corner to score and seal victory for his side.

Keighley News: Sam Blakeley's late try ended Wensleydale's hopes of a comeback.Sam Blakeley's late try ended Wensleydale's hopes of a comeback. (Image: John Ashton.)

Wensleydale responded just before the final whistle thanks to a well-taken try from centre Oliver Palmer, with Reynard drop kicking the conversion through the posts to end the match.

It was only a consolation for the hosts though, with Keighley’s bonus point victory meaning they now have a five-point lead at the summit.

West Leeds could move level with Dan McGee’s men at the top of the table this coming weekend though with a win at home to Beverley.

Keighley have played 15 league matches so far, one more than West Leeds, and fellow title rivals Bradford Salem and Wetherby, so that trio all play their game in hand on Saturday.

The leaders are therefore not back in action until Saturday, January 27, when they host West Leeds at Rose Cottage in what could be a decisive game in the promotion race.