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Keighley boss Sheffield admits: Ilkley beat us fair and square
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Ilkley 27 Keighley 6
Graeme Sheffield offered up no excuses after their third straight league defeat.
Following home setbacks against Scarborough and Heath, Keighley’s director of rugby said of this away derby performance: “Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say you were beaten by a better side.
“They were well organised, they bossed the breakdown and they were stron-ger in their red zone while they looked dangerous when they were in our red zone.”
It was important that Keighley reached half-time having conceded only two tries, but they couldn’t manage it and shipped a third in the 35th minute, giving the hosts a 15-6 advantage.
Opportunity knocked, however, for the visitors in the second half when Ilkley’s Steve Burns was yellow carded for interference in the 48th minute.
But all that happened in the following ten minutes was that Keighley lacked composure in attack, and even worse they conceded a soft try just before the former Bees second row had finished his time in the sin bin.
Keighley rarely threatened after that as Ilkley recovered from their comprehensive defeat seven days earlier at Wath and maintained their unbeaten home start.
While centre Steve Nolson’s try in the 61st minute, after Marco Ferrazzano had lost the ball in contact, seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors, they had chances before that when they had a man advantage.
But scrum half Ian Woodwiss’ pass behind him infield when four or five of his colleagues were waiting for some service on the left wing and full back’s Alex Brown’s long pass that went forward seemed to sum up Keighley’s frantic nature in attack.
Plus points for the visitors, however, was the form of flanker Scott Dyson and centre Ben Blackwell, while, as Sheffield rightly points out: “All the lads in the team are from Keighley, the majority have come through our ranks, and we are rightly proud of that.”
A 7-3 advantage on the penalty count in the first half didn’t help Keighley as much as it might have, Brown landing two of them while sliding another attempt across the face of the posts.
A large gap in Keighley’s midfield, which fly half Craig Barker ran into, raised the red flags in the visitors’ defence in the fourth minute, and they were unable to recover before scrum half Tom Collard scored.
Brown replied with his first penalty success three minutes later after the hosts were offside but he missed another effort in the tenth minute after a beautifully weighted kick into the home 22 by, of all people, prop Paul Sinfield.
No 8 Stewart Brewer got Ilkley’s second try in the 26th minute and winger J-H Johnson got the third nine minutes later, juggling the ball twice before catching it and falling over the line.
Nolson’s try, converted by Collard, put Ilkley, whose defence was superb, out of sight and they clinched the bonus-point win 11 minutes from time when No 8 Iain McKenzie went over in the left corner.
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