EVERYTHING in Keighley’s garden may look rosy now, but head coach Danny McGee would prefer to wait until mid-December to see if anything has wilted.

His team may have won their first seven league matches to sit top of the Yorkshire Division Two table by five points.

However, as McGee points out, they have yet to face the teams currently ranked second, third and fourth in the table.

They host second-placed Northallerton next Saturday, face Wetherby (fourth) at Rose Cottage on December 4 and visit Hullensians (third) on December 18. They also have a derby at fifth-placed Yarnbury on November 27,

McGee said: “I am confident that we can play well and beat teams in this league, but Northallerton next Saturday will be a really good test, and Wetherby are in the mix and so are Hullensians.

“When we are at the back end of that we will have a better picture of how we will be.”

North Ribblesdale can be a tricky place to come to, and they started and finished this derby well, but Keighley had too much for the depleted hosts in between, scoring six tries in the first half and three more in the second.

The hosts began with great continuity, collecting their kick-off and keeping possession for four-and-a-half minutes in what was a stern test of the visitors’ defence.

However, 30 seconds later, after neat interchange at pace between full back Alfie Seeley and left winger Kristian Bealey-Kay, the latter was over under the home sticks for Alex Brown to add a simple conversion.

Centre Adam Horsfall was only denied a try by a superb tackle by Ribb full back Ben Coultherd, but a kick downfield by Seeley that flirted with the touchline then gained Keighley plenty of ground and, from a subsequent line-out, play moved from left to right for winger Jack Atkinson to cross.

Brown made it 14-0, and it was 21-0 after 22 minutes when he converted Bealey-Kay's second try.

Brown’s interception and conversion took the score to 28-0 after 33 minutes, and there was still time for two more first-half tries – by Seeley and Atkinson – as the visitors’ back three showed their pace and balance.

One conversion by Brown made the half-time score 40-0, and there was no let up early in the second half as a dart towards the line by scrum half George Marshall brought a try for replacement John Gibson, who was up well in support.

Trailing 45-0, Ribblesdale did not cave in, however, and it was a further 17 minutes before Keighley scored again via Atkinson.

Replacement Shaun Minikin completed the try-scoring in the 73rd minute, with Brown adding his sixth conversion.

Then Keighley’s defence was tested again but once more they held firm to complete their clean sheet.

McGee then revealed that Keighley’s pre-season work has laid the platform for their early league success.

He said: “Our season has been going on for a very long time. We haven’t really stopped when a lot of teams did, and that is paying dividends at the minute.

“We worked on our structure, we worked on our game and it is working well – we are not just turning up and hoping for the best. We have got a game-plan and a structure.

“We knew that Ribb would throw everything at us but we defended well, soaked it all up and didn’t give a penalty away in that first 10 to 15 minutes.

“Then we started to play our game and we were rewarded for our patience.

"It used to be forwards and backs but we have worked on our skills a lot more and are more fluid. The forwards can offload and the backs can clear out and we have grunt up front and pace out wide.

“Our back three finished really well with Alfie, Jack and young Bealey-Kay, who is one for the future but is performing now.

“A clean sheet is sweet too, as well as putting points on them. We were under the cosh a bit in the last 10 minutes but stopped them scoring and you can hear the cheers that we gave at the end when we did that.”

The only injuries were to hooker Jake Parkinson (elbow), scrum half George Marshall (slight thigh strain) and prop Sam Booker (dislocated finger which went straight back in).