AFTER two pre-season friendlies, Keighley are a lot further down the line in terms of preparation as they ready themselves for their opening Yorkshire Division One fixture at Scarborough on Saturday, September 2.

A tough encounter on an artificial grass pitch at Preston Grasshoppers, which Keighley lost 19-14, was followed by a 43-12 victory over derby rivals Yarnbury on the second XV pitch at Rose Cottage.

Keighley's new head coach Dave Duxbury said of the match at Lightfoot Green: "It was good for two reasons – firstly because of the opportunity to play on an artificial grass pitch, which was a revelation to some of our players because they realised it was a good surface to play rugby on.

"And secondly because Paul Arnold's team (who play in the North Premier, two divisions above Keighley), fielded six or seven players who will be playing in their first league match (at Sandal on September 2)."

Hoppers scored two penalty tries, both of which were converted, and another try, while Keighley managed tries by new skipper and fly half Alex Brown and forward Liam Everitt, both of which Brown converted.

However, the main talking point was the seven yellow cards issued by the referee, four for Keighley, including to some amusement locally and up the Dales, one for former Wharfedale back-rower Rob Baldwin (he has a habit of being sin-binned), and three for Hoppers.

Duxbury said: "We defended superbly for the first 30 minutes and, through the course of the match, gave all 29 players pretty much equal game-time."

Last Thursday, Keighley scored seven tries and conceded two in a contest which pleased both Duxbury and Yarnbury coach Bob Hood.

Home tries came from Adam Horsfall, Joe Sugden, Luke Burgess, Chris Meehan, Luke Carter, Jason Kay and Sam Booker, but the main worry was a possible anterior cruciate ligament injury for Cameron Bealey-Kaye.

Duxbury said: "A total of 33 lads got game-time and we are starting to play to the patterns that I like to see."

The previous night, Wharfedale Foresters had also beaten Bradford Salem by seven tries to two, with one of the Greens' tries being scored by second-half trialist Ben Blackwell, the centre who has now signed from Keighley.

The Rose Cottage side were due to wrap up their pre-season friendly programme last night in a game at Baildon for the second team Stags.