Yorkshire One: Keighley 10 Beverley 12

KEIGHLEY faced a strong challenge against second-placed Beverley, whom they pushed all the way in a close contest between two well-matched sides.

They had to make do with a losing bonus point and were left to rue a harshly disallowed try from Tom Willson.

Injuries and unavailability forced several changes for the hosts, who lost to Heath the previous week.

The starting squad included three teenagers in hooker Ryan Gibson and back Ethan Lawrie alongside the more regular Willson.

The return of scrum half Lucas Uren and No 8 Leigh Sugden after injury was a significant bonus.

Beverley applied early pressure and it was a full ten minutes before Keighley made any meaningful progress into their half.

The home defence was generally sound but after 15 minutes a timely entry into the line by influential full back Luke Hazell brought him the first score, improved by stand-off Phil Duboulay.

Keighley responded strongly and held sway for the next 30 minutes. Backs Alfie Seeley and Jake Duxbury combined well to take play to the Beverley 22-metre line and skipper Alex Brown opened his side’s account with a penalty goal.

A great run from deep in his own half by Willson set up a good attacking base and centre Alan Ebbrell was held up short of the line from a well-angled burst.

Keighley’s forwards arrived in support and Willson was cruelly denied a try when referee Gavin Pender, who otherwise officiated well, harshly adjudged that the ball was not properly grounded.

With their pack generally on top in the scrums and the lineout functioning well from Gibson’s accurate throwing in, Keighley were rewarded with a sparkling try by Seeley after a 50-metre touchline run. The quality of the try was matched by Brown’s superb touchline conversion.

Keighley took their narrow lead into the second half, but as the game progressed Beverley regained the initiative.

The home side again defended well, with Sugden and Shaun Minikin to the fore, but the visitors eventually scored the decisive try when crisp passing allowed wingman Danny Thompson to cross in the corner.

The game deteriorated into a dour struggle, Keighley wasting their few chances through inaccurate kicking.

Perhaps Beverley just about earned their victory but this was certainly a contest Keighley might have won with a little more concentration and application.

Keighley head to North Ribblesdale on Saturday.