KEIGHLEY are to get another crack at the side who ended their long unbeaten home record.

Danny McGee’s boys defeated fellow Counties One Yorkshire side West Leeds 34-10 in a semi-final of the Yorkshire Shield at Rose Cottage and will face divisional leaders Bradford Salem, who won their semi-final 33-3 at Wensleydale, in the final at Doncaster RUFC on Saturday, May 18.

Salem won 23-17 at Utley on February 17 to puncture an impressive run of results there (34 wins, two draws) for Keighley stretching back to October 2019.

The battle between Keighley (third in the table) and West Leeds (fourth) inevitably had two mix-and-match teams as it was a non-league Saturday, with Keighley giving debuts to Dan Carter and Denon Sokee off the bench.

McGee said: “We were missing Alex Brown, Adam Horsfall, Shaun Minikin, Eddie Keighley and Jake Parkinson, who are all first-team regulars.

“Some were at Twickenham, some were injured, such as Tom Whyte, our captain and No 8, and Adam Kemp, who both had knee issues, and some we rested, but it was a great opportunity to give those fringe players, who have not had many first-team opportunities, a game.

Keighley News: Keighley captain Tom Whyte was absent at the weekend, but Keighley did superbly in winning comprehensively without him.Keighley captain Tom Whyte was absent at the weekend, but Keighley did superbly in winning comprehensively without him. (Image: John Ashton.)

“The non-regulars were good, but they have been training with the first XV so they know all of our systems, and the colts system is the same as well so senior rugby is not as difficult a transition.

“I told the lads in the changing room afterwards that we were really good, we played our system and we played our shapes and got go-forward ball, but the way that we played, not only individually, but as a team, was the most pleasing point.”

McGee added: “We were not there against Pocklington last week (a 35-3 league defeat) and we said ourselves that the attitude was not there.

“We were not firing for whatever reason. Whether that was a hangover from the Salem game three weeks before I don’t know, but you can’t dwell on it. You have to keep pushing forwards and we did, which was also pleasing.

“If we can take what we have done here into the last three league games then that should make for a really positive end to the season.

“The lads have worked hard all season, but you don’t deserve anything unless you win.”

As for facing Salem in the final, McGee said: “It is a good opportunity to put right what we didn’t put right when they came down to us. Whether you call that revenge or not I don’t know, but the motivation of facing Salem should be enough.

“I think that we can pick 25 for the final and they will all be ready to perform for the club.

“There is a big gap between the last league match (April 6) and the final, but we also have the Papa John’s Community Cup to keep us going at Widnes on April 13.”

West Leeds kicked off towards the clubhouse, but they were behind after three minutes.

Keighley full back Alfie Seeley was high tackled (not for the last time in the match), but the attack continued via Sean Kelly, fellow centre Taylor Prell flicking a pass out of the back door to give winger Sam Blakeley the space to go over on the right, fly half Fin Meegan missing with the difficult conversion on a chilly afternoon when he didn’t have many easy pots at goal.

Keighley News: Sam Blakeley opened the scoring for Keighley in their Yorkshire Shield semi-final win on Saturday.Sam Blakeley opened the scoring for Keighley in their Yorkshire Shield semi-final win on Saturday. (Image: John Ashton.)

The visitors, who were impressive in patches, got on the board three minutes later when Keighley were offside, full back Keir Breakwell landing a penalty from just inside the home 10-metre line.

Keighley scored their second try in the ninth minute, with Kelly again influential before No 8 Jordan Yaxley crossed the whitewash, Meegan for once having an easy conversion attempt to make it 12-3.

Both sides were showing their willingness to attack, and Keighley’s man of the match Seeley almost scored a breakaway try before good continuity led to the hosts forcing a goal-line drop-out.

Then Kelly went through the middle with intent and, four minutes later, in the 35th minute, Seeley scored a try on the right to make it 17-3, Keighley scoring again four minutes later, Kelly going down the right before the attack was switched left for winger Jack Wild to score.

Leading 22-3 at half-time, the home side stretched their advantage six minutes into the second half after lock Lucas Uren had twice had darts at the line, flanker Max Wild scoring from close in for Meegan to convert.

West Leeds lost No 8 Barney Carter to a neck injury, but ironically that presaged their best spell of the match, fly half Connor Brewster being brave enough to try a chip and chase, which bounced perfectly for him to score in the 61st minute, Breakwell converting to make it 29-10.

Replacement Omar Aziz was prominent in this phase for West Leeds, but Keighley had the last laugh with a second try for Jack Wild six minutes later in the left-hand corner.

Scrum half Nathan Pickles was handed his first XV tie in the clubhouse afterwards after making his 16th appearance.

Keighley have a mouth-watering derby at home to Bradford & Bingley on Saturday, and McGee said: “Everybody should be available and it is a coach’s dream to have those selection problems. We will see how training goes.”