For their first home encounter of the season the Dev XV welcomed near neighbours Keighley to the Avenue for a double header with the Rams hosting Keighley 3rds. The team had the benefit of a number of returning faces to bolster the forward pack but were a little shorter in experience across the back line with a number of men from last Saturday’s win being promoted to the Foresters.
The opening exchanges gave an insight into how much of a nip and tuck affair it was likely to be with the lads in green having a slight edge at the set piece but Keighley looking dangerous with ball in hand and were awash with strong ball carriers.
The visitors scored first after a turnover in midfield, the ball was passed wide, they beat several defenders and crossed the whitewash. The conversion was missed but they were 5-0 to the good.
The home side then settled into the game and got more of the ball with which to attack. A penalty was awarded at a ruck for not rolling away which scrum-half Sam Mason took quickly. Keighley then added to their error with another penalty. This time veteran fly-half Jonathan Davies kicked to the corner for a line out. The ball was won securely and the maul set up, efficiently crossing the line with relative ease, and hooker Tom Carlisle claiming the touchdown. Unfortunately, JD missed with the extras but we were back level at 5-5.
The men in green then took the lead after a Keighley attack was thwarted with a good mid field turnover, the ball was carted forward by several men before being spun wide to unleash the might of Sam Smith on the wing. The powerful winger looked to have had his share of cricket suppers over the summer but still defied the laws of physics to get moving as quickly as he can, several defenders were left in his wake on the way to the try line out on the left and JD added the extras to put us 12-5 up.
Keighley then responded to take the half time score to 12-10 in favour of the hosts. A driven maul was well halted by the green pack but the ball was spun to the mid field where their centre benefitted from some average defending to score.
The second half began after the usual half time drivel by the management and other vocal individuals. Keighley were now playing down the slope. A neat chip through by their scrum half resulted in a penalty and a yellow card as replacement flanker James Ardron thought that no-one was watching, not even a referee as he executed the most blatant of blocking manoeuvres. Keighley popped the ball in the corner for a lineout, but the maul was excellently held by the home pack yet again, but as before, the ball went wide and Keighley crossed through midfield. Thankfully for the home side, their kicker was having a poor day and the conversion was missed. 12-15.
As the half progressed, Keighley had the lion’s share of possession and territory and were only held out by sheer determination and excellent work ethic by the hosts. After a turn over and the clearance kick to touch, Keighley’s line out went awry and was cleaned up by Carlisle. The ball was then fed wide to Scott Rogers (who this week had matching socks, but turned up late!) who in turn fed Smith who blustered his way down the left wing to cross for his second. JD added the extras and we were 19-15 up against the run of play.
Keighley then came back into the home sides half looking for the win. A chip through was fielded by Rogers but was carried over the try line to give Keighley an attacking scrum in front of the posts. The home side held out well with the front row of 3 Toms (Jackson, Carlisle & Walker) scrummaging well against larger opponents and well supported by the rest of the pack. Keighley picked up from the base and the lads in green under pressure gave a penalty away at the breakdown. Keighley took a quick tap and crossed once more through mid-field.
Final Score Wharfedale 19 – 20 Keighley.
A tough afternoon for the lads but a fine game of rugby. Several players were playing in unfamiliar positions and others were called in at short notice and performed admirably. On the day Keighley were the better side and deserving of their victory.
1. Tom Jackson
2. Tom Carlisle
3. Tom Walker
4. Jim Bowers
5. Adam Stockton
6. Tom Baines
7. Andrew Bode
8. Matt Wareing
9. Sam Mason
10. Jonathan Davies
11. Dan Benson
12. Jack Kitching
13. Joe Daggett
14. Adam Stockdale
15. Sam Smith
16. David Wade
17. James Ardron
18. Scott Rogers