Old Crossleyans 22 Keighley 19
Old Crossleyans produced another strong team performance to see off promoted Keighley and maintain their fine run of form in North One East
A game of contrasting styles saw the Broomfield side’s expressive passing game get the better of Keighley’s driving runs in what turned out to be an enthralling encounter.
There was nothing to separate the sides for the first half an hour after which Crocs broke the deadlock when man of the match and fly half Gareth Ott jinked inside three attempted tackles on a run from halfway before offloading to scrum half Chris Vine. He in turn flicked the ball out to skipper James Wainwright who, faced with the Keighley full-back, brought player coach Chris Jones into play and he ran in under the posts for wing Gareth Sweeney to convert.
The hosts had been reduced to 14 men following Lock Kev McGill’s yellow card and they were pegged back when visiting fly half Alex Brown picked off an interception and ran 50 metres unopposed, his conversion bringing the scores level.
Crocs were swift out of the blocks at the start of the second half. Jack Hammond fed new recruit Elliot Hodgson who showed great potential, weaving inside and out as he broke to the Keighley 22. Fellow centre Jack Hammond then took over before passing to brother Billy who went in at the corner, Lee Thomas knocking his conversion attempt wide.
Keighley missed a straight penalty from 22 metres but were immediately awarded another which they kicked to the corner. The lineout gave the big forwards the chance to drive towards the posts, but after Crocs appeared to have recovered the ball it went loose and winger Titley nipped in to score, Brown adding the two to take a 14-12 lead. That advantage lasted five minutes as Lee Thomas landed a penalty for 15-14.
Keighley began to exert some pressure but the home defence held firm. A penalty against the visitors saw Ott kick play to Keighley’s 22 where good movement across the backs saw Thomas stopped. The ball was recycled and Vine did the spadework to allow Ott to jink in at the posts for Thomas to convert.
Keighley mounted waves of attacks but again the Crocs defence proved equal to the task until the ball was spread across the field for wing Jake Hill to touch down too far wide for the conversion to stick.
That led to a tense final few minutes but Crocs held out to secure another satisfying success.