Rishworthians fade in mud bath

Luke Illingworth makes a tackle for Old Rishworthians at Kerighley
Luke Illingworth makes a tackle for Old Rishworthians at Kerighley

Under-strength Rishworthians held Yorkshire Two promotion favourites Keighley until half-time, but then the heavier home pack took over to run out 41-6 winners.

It was a credit to both teams that they tried to play open rugby on a quagmire of a pitch at Utley.

The game was in doubt up to 30 minutes before the kick off but neither club wanted to add to their backlog of fixtures.

The fixture should have been played at Copley on November 21 but it was switched to Keighley because of ongoing problems with the Copley pitch following the Christmas floods.

Both sides had to defend well in the first half. Rishworthians won more than their fair share of possession but were unable to break through.

Keighley looked the likelier to score and opened their account with an early converted try, finding a gap in the Rishworthian defence and providing a quick pass to a supporting player.

The visitors came back strongly but could not break through. Good play between centre Taniela Bakoso and fullback Liam Phillips allowed the latter to kick through for winger Rhys Town. He kicked on but the ball bounced into touch just short of the line.

Rishworthians then camped in the home half. Stand-off Josh Kelly was just wide with a long range penalty but then reduced the arrears with a good kick.

The home side came straight back and a missed tackle allowed them an unconverted try wide out.

From the restart flanker Gerard Rollings was about to score when brought back for a forward pass. However, Kelly added another penalty.

With the last move of the half an unstoppable forward drive gave Keighley a converted try and a 19–6 lead.

Scrum half Gary Morris went off after a clash of heads and Phillips moved to scrum half and gave a fine performance.

Winger Lee Atkinson was yellow carded for an obstruction and while he was off the home side took charge.

From the penalty a cross-kick almost caught Rishworthians napping. They managed to hold off the winger, but there was enough support to take the ball over the line.

The conditions favoured the Keighley pack and they took charge, soon forcing another try.

As the game ended the home side snapped up two more tries, one converted, from spilled possession as Rishworthians tired.