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Dev XV 17 – 0 Keighley

February 24th, 2015
Last Saturday the Greens made the short trip to Keighley for their rescheduled fixture against Keighley 2's. The teams first met on the opening week of the season with the Devs comfortably winning an open and attacking game, but history suggested the away fixture was likely to be a closer affair. The Wharfedale squad was not quite at full complement this week with Josh Brewer and the Rymers generously agreeing to help ensure the fourth team were able to fulfil their fixture with Salem (thanks lads) but the forward pack still looked more than up to the task. The backline was once again shuffled around due to absences but with Harry Croft making a welcome return to outside centre and Tom Wareing providing a contrast of styles at 12 (as 'Slim' the Keighley prop found out later in the game), Michael Beer certainly had the tools at his disposal to get the job done. The match began with Wharfedale playing into a heavy wind with the game plan to keep things tight early on and deny Keighley territory and possession wherever possible. This was quickly achieved with flankers Andrew Bode and Sam Smith Jnr. (who had possibly his best game for the Threes) contesting the breakdown well and forcing turnover ball on a number of occasions. This gave the backs the opportunity to attack their opponents at regular intervals with Croft and Max Mountain (in an unaccustomed role on the wing) regularly breaking the game line. Keighley defended well though and once inside the Keighley 22, Wharfedale lacked the necessary composure to create clear-cut scoring chances. A missed penalty by Keighley and a solitary try for Croft being the only real chances of a hard-fought first half, 5-0 Wharfedale. The second half began with the Devs confident that they could now make the elements work to their advantage but in fact it was Keighley who made the better start, pinning Wharfedale back on their own five yard line and forcing the Greens into a series of infringements. The defence shown by 'Dale was however excellent, far more reminiscent of the away game at Ribb earlier in the season than the second half debacle against West Leeds a fortnight earlier. Importantly this phase of play ended with Beer clearing the Wharfedale lines and an excellent chase saw Tom Carlisle tackle the Keighley full back, which allowed Dan Benson to gather the ball and run in under the posts unchallenged, Sam Smith adding the extras to make it 12-0 Wharfedale. The game was still far from won but the chance of a bonus point was definitely there. A further quick score from Matty Close saw the Lead extended to 17 points, with plenty of time left for the all-important fourth score - sadly it never came. Chances were created (the best falling to Matty Wareing) but with 'white-line fever' proving very contagious the scoreline remained unchanged and the game ended with Wharfedale in possession just yards from the Keighley try line. Overall a much improved performance on the West Leeds game and a very satisfying clean sheet, hopefully the elusive bonus point will not become an important talking point later in the season.
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