Keighley gain their 2nd win of season
It was also their second 5point haul
Report by Bill Marshall in Telegraph & Argus
After only one training session back at Rose Cottage, Alfie Seeley, who set up their second try for full back Jake Duxbury, helped the Yorkshire Division One strugglers to only their second win of the season.
“It is good to be back with the boys,” said the winger, and the bonus-point victory elevated Keighley off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation places, with the visitors and Guisborough – the only other team that Keighley have beaten so far this season – replacing them.
“Confidence has been a big issue and there is huge room for improvement but I don’t think that this team know how good they could be,” said a happy Keighley head coach Dave Duxbury.
“It was a better display than against Guisborough, and in the first half we really played how we wanted to play.
“Old Rishworthians didn’t play how we expected them to play – they moved the ball wide – but we reacted to that and capitalised on their mistakes.”
Keighley also had to cope with an unexpected start to the match, with fly-half Rob Wilkinson going off with head and neck injuries within five minutes.
Allan Ebbrell slotted in at fly-half, and Duxbury senior said: “Allan has played there recently and did very well. He is a different animal to Rob, very physical, and it was good to have him, Jake (after concussion) and Alfie, although we don’t know for how long, back.
“Old Rishworthians were underpowered and we took advantage, having come up against some massive packs earlier in the season.”
Keighley centre Adam Horsfall made an important tackle early doors and, although they didn’t make the most of a half-chance soon after, they had much the better of the first half against their third-from-bottom visitors.
Jake Duxbury almost got on the end of his own chip in the ninth minute but, despite No 8 Gerard Rollings and centre Ben Hinsley both leaving the field injured at the same time for Rish eight minutes later, the visitors were the first to score.
Fly-half Josh Kelly chipped ahead, lock and skipper Fraser Swarbrooke gathered and, moments later, centre Doug Heseltine was over.
At this stage, Rish’s passing and continuity was the more impressive, but Keighley levelled through a 20-metre driving maul which ended with 36-year-old No 8 Leigh Sugden romping over the try-line and cutting in towards the posts.
With neither Alex Brown (pectoral injury) nor Wilkinson on the pitch, the kicking duties fell to versatile hooker Ryan Gibson, and he confidently stroked over the conversion to give Keighley a 7-5 lead.
Rish full-back Sam Bake, who is a slight figure, proved difficult to pin down, but so did Seeley when he created Jake Duxbury’s try in the 33rd minute, with Gibson’s conversion making it 14-5.
Six minutes later, Kelly reduced the deficit with a penalty from just outside the 22-metre line after Keighley were pinged by referee Kristian Garland (West Yorkshire Society) for not rolling away, but with Wilkinson’s injury taking more than five minutes to treat, there was still time for Rish to concede a third try before the interval.
Ebbrell almost broke through but visiting winger Anthony Shoesmith was sin-binned after the next phase for slapping the ball down, and Leigh Sugden bagged his brace by sauntering through a gap which the home side reckoned was like the parting of the Red Sea.
Gibson, who missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time, added the conversion to take the score to 21-8.
Keighley started the second half as they had finished the first – on top.
A beautiful offload by the influential Ebbrell gave Horsfall the chance to wrap up the bonus-point fourth try five minutes in, and Gibson made it four successful kicks out of five with the conversion.
Now the pressure was off at 28-8, and the rest of the match became more of a stalemate, although Keighley replacement Joey Sugden was lucky to get away with a trip on flanker Chris Flanagan which could have brought a yellow or red card.
Horsfall, running at pace, then knocked on a pass to put Keighley on the defensive but they were on their mettle when they did not have the ball – a point that Leigh Sugden made when he robbed Rollings of the ball deep in home territory in the 74th minute.
The last significant action of a rare happy day for the hosts came four minutes later when Rishworthians replacement James Clarke was yellow carded for talking back to the referee.