Keighley 20 Old Brodleians 9
Apart from the broken leg suffered by hooker Craig Dyson and the failure to take a bonus point for four tries, this was a perfect afternoon for Keighley.
Their third win of the season didn’t move them out of a relegation place but it did draw them closer to their next opponents, Pontefract, who they travel to on Saturday.
Keighley started the day 14 points from safety and ended it ten adrift as all the other results fell their way, with the chance to make that a mere five points behind next weekend.
Not for the first time this season, Keighley started the match on the front foot but this time they did capitalise.
A second-minute try from Shaun Minikin was superby converted by fly half Alex Brown, who later added two penalties to give the hosts a 13-3 interval advantage in this derby.
Two penalties by Brods full back Dan Wood reduced that margin to four points by the hour but tenacious Keighley defence kept the visitors at arm’s length, as did some sloppy Brods handling, and the experience of full back Danny McGee also steadied the ship.
Then, in the second minute of injury time, the hosts pounced on a loose pass in Brods’ 22, a visitor was then driven back by about six Keighley forwards before man of the match Leigh Sugden pinched the ball to dive over for the match-winning try, Brown’s conversion adding to the hurt of Brods losing their bonus point.
“It was a badly-needed win,” said Keighley’s director of rugby Graeme Sheffield, whose side had lost their previous eight league matches, albeit four of them narrowly.
“The aim from now on is to hit teams early in our home games – some of them will have travelled long distances and we hope to catch them while they are ‘still on the bus’.
“It was as good a forward display as we have produced all season and I told Shaun Minikin to follow our other flanker Dave Pullen. Hope-fully he will have learnt from a master.
“Meanwhile, Leigh Sugden has his critics but the opposition cannot stop him.”
Keighley have nine games left in which to save themselves.
Five of them are away from home but two are against the bottom three, and five matches in all have them facing sides currently in the bottom half of the table.
Sheffield added: “This win makes Pontefract an even more important game next weekend - in Premier League terms it is a ‘six-pointer’.”
As for Dyson, who has joined his brother Scott, who broke his ankle the previous weekend, on the sidelines for the rest of the season, Sheffield said: “It is a pity about Craig as he has worked so hard to get where he is. It is a pity for him and a pity for the club.”