Yorkshire One: Keighley 31 Wheatley Hills 33

KEIGHLEY suffered defeat at home to the league’s bottom club in a high-scoring affair.

They got off to a great start as, within five minutes, some slick approach work gave No 8 Leigh Sugden the opportunity to swat three would-be tacklers off and score wide out.

A few minutes later Lucas Uren picked up some quick ruck ball to score and increase the lead.

Wheatley were pinned in their own half but solid defence, and some poor hands from the hosts, eased the pressure.

With their tails up, Keighley spurned at least two kickable penalties in the search for more tries but were unable to capitalise.

This allowed Wheatley chance to gather themselves and play their power game, with a dominating scrum and excellent line-out ball from athletic second row Tom Buckenham. They drove play up field which led to two penalties for full back Owen Gillvray.

Their pressure continued as Wheatley used their big runners, especially No 8 Paul Purnell, to their advantage, launching waves of attack through the midfield.

At a scrum near the hosts’ 22-metre area, Wheatley drove forward destroying the Keighley pack. The scrum collapsed near the try line and Wheatley were awarded a seven-point penalty try.

From the restart Keighley were unable to gain any meaningful possession. When they did, it was delivered far too slowly which led to aimless kicking out of defence and more ammunition for Wheatley’s big boys, who were relishing their work.

Hard, driving forward play gave centre Leon Butler the chance to dive over, Gillvray adding the difficult conversion.

The second half started well for the visitors with yet another penalty for Gillvray.

Although Keighley were losing up front and kicking badly, they managed some quick ball which gave full back Alfie Seeley the chance to round the defence and score, Alex Brown adding the extras.

Keighley were once again drawn into a forward-orientated game that they were always going to lose.

At a retreating scrum, the ball was accidentally kicked through by Wheatley’s No 8 into Keighley hands.

The referee, much to the consternation of the spectators and the players, awarded a penalty try.

Wheatley continued their simple pressure game, gaining a further penalty for the sure-footed Gillvray.

With time rapidly running out Keighley at last realised that the way to win the game was to ignore strange refereeing decisions and give the ball some air.

With young hooker Ryan Gibson continually breaking through a tired defence and sensible movement of the ball, two tries came in rapid succession – one for Sugden and another for Seeley, both being converted by Brown.

It was all too late, however. This was a game that Keighley let slip and as a result were forced to be content with two bonus points.

Keighley’s next Yorkshire One match is at leaders York on Saturday, March 3.