Moortown 38 Keighley 32

KEIGHLEY nearly pulled off an incredible comeback against Moortown thanks to a trio of second half tries from winger Jack Atkinson but they had to settle for two losing bonus points in the end, going down 38-32 in a high-scoring thriller.

Due to injuries and unavailability, Keighley were forced to field an inexperienced team, with six colt players in the squad.

Moortown looked sharp, and at a scrum, their powerful number eight Bernie Taulealo broke free before slipping the ball to scrum half Kirk Arundale, who ran through a tackle to score.

The early converted try gave Moortown added confidence, they monopolised possession and forced Keighley to defend for extended periods of time.

Centre Oliver Shakeshaft turned that pressure into points with a well-worked try, converted by Crossland. A few minutes later, quick ball and a half dummy sent Crossland over. He also added the conversion.

Keighley, through sheer dogged determination from the pack, eventually ground out some territory and earned a penalty for outside half Alex Brown.

Then, a superb break out of defence by young wing forward Ryan Gibson gave the Keighley backs some space and a well-worked try in the corner for Jonty Glendinning.

The comeback was short lived. Moortown gained a lineout in the corner, and after a take and short drive, the whole pack were over to score, with Crossland adding the extras.

To add to their woes, Keighley were unable to stop Moortown’s big Australian second row Alex Willcox scoring on the stroke of half-time.

Twenty-five points behind, Keighley looked a different team in the second half. Substitute centre Allan Ebbrell smashed through two defenders and a quick flick pass gave Atkinson an easy run in to score.

Moortown increased the pressure after that try, and they forced Keighley into making errors of judgement which led to a yellow card for their most experienced forward Stuart Inman.

The home side took immediate advantage, and from a line out drive and maul, their hooker Daithi O’Leary broke away to score.

Moortown looked to have the game in the bag, but the Keighley forwards had other ideas.

They managed to grind out territory and the backs, with a new lease of life, chose to keep the ball in hand and run everything, which led to two further tries for Atkinson, both converted by Brown.

Although it was too little too late, Ebbrell once again muscled his way through two defenders before flicking the ball to full back Alfie Seeley, who crashed over in the corner.

Keighley, who had showed great character, scored five tries and came within six points of the winners, earning themselves those two deserved bonus points.