Old Rishworthians produced their best performance of the season to beat Keighley 25-18 at Copley yesterday.
Keighley are battling with West Leeds for top place in Yorkshire Two and the Copley men showed dedication and great team work to defeat the visitors, with both teams scoring three tries.
The difference was the performance of man of the match Josh Kelly, who scored 15 points, including a try midway through the second half.
The team showed three changes from the one which narrowly lost to Yarnbury in the Yorkshire Shield the previous week. Ryan Mudd replaced Phil Kershaw at tight head prop, Nick Faulkner returned at No 8 and Gerard Rollings came in for the unavailable Joe Billing at full back. Richard Bullough moved to the second row and Harvey Keighley-Payne returned from successful Yorkshire Under 20 duties.
The first half was dominated by Rishworthians but the heavier Keighley pack, with Hamish Pratt at No 8, tested the young Copley side.
After 25 minutes an inch perfect kick from Kelly to Anthony Shoesmith on the wing enabled the record try scorer to gather the ball and dive over the line, Kelly converting.
The mobile young Rishworthian pack started winning the key breakdowns and the referee was not sympathetic to the infringing Keighley forwards. Kelly made it 10-0 when a Keighley player was offside.
Rishworthians then produced a gem of a try. Nick Faulkner, who caused the visitors problems all afternoon, gained possession and passed to Keighley-Payne, who beat two defenders and off-loaded to Taniela Bakoso, who scored an unconverted try.
Keighley realised that this match was not going to be a pushover and their hooker and captain Will Armitage scored an unconverted try.
Left wing Sam Walker then touched down following a defensive lapse by the home team to make it 15-10 at half time.
The visitors piled on the pressure and after five minutes, following an offside, Alex Brown’s penalty cut the gap to two points.
Rishworthians’ tackling prevented Keighley’s dangerous backs from gaining momentum. Gary Morris, at scrum half, was a key player and his service to Kelly enabled centres Bakoso and Matthew Hunt-Brown to run at the visitors.
A superb eight man effort enabled Rishworthians to steal Keighley scrum ball near the visitors’ line. After several interplays Kelly dived in under the posts and converted.
The visitors took play back up the field and following several rucks, Callum Heseltine was yellow carded.
The vociferous travelling supporters started refereeing the game and after a period on the Rishworthians five-metre line a fine tackle by Chris Stone and Ryan Mudd enabled the referee to give a free kick to the home side.
Kelly cleared but Keighley won the line out and Walker scored his second try, which was not converted.
The final five minutes was played in the visitors’ half and a penalty was calmly kicked by Kelly to clinch a deserved win.