Rugby Union: Cleckheaton 19, Keighley 15

By Bill Marshall.

Passion is a crucial factor in sport, and Cleckheaton had more of it in this North East Division Two derby than Keighley.

"We wanted it more," said experienced home scrum half Ian Gatenby. "The desire was there and it made a big difference."

He added: "We haven't been playing with much confidence because we have been losing by the odd point and haven't been doing ourselves justice, but we were fired up this time. Keighley profited from our mistakes, but we won by two tries to nil, so we deserved it."

Former England tourist Steve Burnhill provided the thrust in Cleckheaton's backs, scoring their second try which regained them the lead at 16-12.

Keighley, level on points with Darlington Mowden Park before the kick-off but well behind on points difference, still hope to head the division at the end of the season.

Mowden Park, who won 40-15 at Hartlepool Rovers, are now two points clear, but are in danger of being docked two points for naming an unregistered player among their replacements earlier in the season.

They have appealed to the RFU to try and get the decision reversed. Also third-placed Hull went down 25-10 on Saturday at North Ribblesdale, and so remain four points behind second-placed Keighley.

Visiting skipper John Duffy knows there are two promotion places available, but admitted: "We want to go up as champions, and still have Hull (March 7) and Mowden Park (April 11) to play at home.

"Cleckheaton came out all guns blazing and we just seemed to stand and watch them for 40 minutes.

"But in the first ten minutes of the second half I thought we had turned the corner, and thought we were going to win when we were 12-11 up.

"It was certainly a grudge match, but I agree they wanted to win it more - probably more than any match this season- and it showed on the pitch."

Cleckheaton led 11-3 at half-time through two Mark Rogers penalties and a try by Martin McSwiney, the hooker being driven over by his pack.

Keighley's sole first half reply came from a penalty by fly half John Harrison, who took his tally to 164 for the season by landing all their points via five penalties.

Boosted by Rogers's vital second penalty in first half injury time, Cleckheaton were rocked in the opening 11 minutes of the second half as Keighley enjoyed their best spell of the match.

Three Harrison penalties put them 12-11 ahead, and only a fine tackle by full back Alex Green stopped Keighley full back Carl Smith scoring a try.

With Kevin Young looking dangerous the game looked there for Keighley's taking, especially as Cleckheaton No 8 Shaun Bainbridge was yellow carded for foul play and New Zealander Brian Guilford limped off with a calf muscle injury.

However, the home side went straight back upfield and scored a fine Steve Burnhill try. Harrison's well-struck 66th-minute penalty kept the pot boiling, but Cleckheaton never looked like conceding any further points.

Rogers added a drop goal in the 76th minute, and his team finished at the right end of the field, Gatenby being shoved into touch by Smith near Keighley's line with just two minutes remaining.

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