Keighley 3 Middlesbrough 21

KEIGHLEY suffered their third defeat of the season against Middlesbrough, having already lost to them in the corresponding league away game and also at home in the Yorkshire Shield.

In a game of open rugby, the hosts started well, with a constant stream of possession gaining them good territory. Breaking from a scrum, lively scrum half Lucas Uren fed No 8 Leigh Sugden, who crossed the try line but the ball was dislodged from his grasp.

The only reward for Keighley's constant pressure was an offside penalty for captain Alex Brown.

Middlesbrough weathered the storm and began to build pressure. Choosing not to commit many players to any breakdown meant they had extra players in defence and attack.

With experienced outside half Andy Baggett controlling the play, the Keighley defence was moved around a lot. When their defending winger chose to move inside, there was space for Middlesbrough wide man Sean Moloney to run in unopposed, Baggett adding the conversion.

Keighley fought back well but the clogged midfield frustrated them and they were unable to take advantage of good forward play and resulting possession.

Middlesbrough regained control and moved the ball well, which resulted in a carbon copy try for Maloney. The wide defender was drawn in, creating space on the outside for a simple try and former Wharfedale skipper Baggett added the extras.

The second half started well for the visitors. Using the space, they pushed play into the Keighley 22. A line-out followed by a ruck gave substitute scrum half Mathew Todd the opportunity to break through a stretched defence to score, once again Baggett adding the easy conversion.

Keighley responded well, with all the forwards, led by Sugden, working hard. Quicker possession gave outside half Alex Brown more time and space to bring his backs into play.

A number of times powerful centre Sean Kelly was able to break free but the cover defence managed to haul him down.

Showing a great deal of character, Keighley varied their play as winger Joe Copperwaite and full back Alfie Seeley were the main points of attack.

Although Copperwaite touched down, the referee was unable to keep up with play and was unable to award it.

A little later, a certain try went begging when the last pass went to ground.

Keighley were probably the better side overall in the second half but they were unable to turn the pressure into points.

They return to Yorkshire One action at Old Rishworthians on Saturday, March 24.