Rishworthians missed the chance of climbing out of the Yorkshire One relegation zone, a conversion being the difference between the sides as they lost 19-17 at home to Keighley yesterday.
They did enough to win and could have done so with a very kickable penalty chance which was turned down in favour of an unsuccessful catch and drive attempt.
“We’re not done yet,” was the message from player-coach Chris Stone. “We’ll go on battling to the end.”
Fortunately for Rishworthians the other clubs they are fighting with against relegation also lost, but at least the Copley club picked up a losing bonus point, which may prove crucial in the end.
They had plenty of possession throughout the game. “We worked hard to get into the right positions, but failed to capitalise and virtually gifted them all their points,” said Stone.
Injuries have been the story of Rishworthians’ season and they lost four more players from the previous week’s team before kick-off.
Their only real boost was the return after five months out with a knee injury of prop Josh Crickmay and he rewarded his inclusion with two tries, one from a catch and drive and a second from short range in support.
Keighley scored early, a break in the centre leaving Rishworthians floundering for a converted try.
The visitors used the wind well to send the home men back, but they came forward again with young flanker Toby Muscat-Baron stealing the ball for the backs to progress.
Crickmay took it on before it came out again and a clever run by fullback Luke Flanagan was only ended by a high tackle.
Rishworthians went for the corner and a catch and drive from the lineout was completed by Crickmay.
Another high tackle on Flanagan brought a yellow card and a very kickable penalty, but it was turned down for another kick to the corner.
The catch and drive was unsuccessful and it proved a very costly error, especially when the visitors hit back with a second converted try after a missed tackle to make it 5-14 at the break.
Early in the second half a poor pass went loose and the visitors took advantage, kicking through and winning the race to collect the ball and score an unconverted try.
Rishworthians then took charge. They were dominant in the scrums, while in the backs there were strong runs from centre Kurt Sutcliffe and right wing Jordan Bloem.
But it was wing Anthony Shoesmith who got them going on the left, linking well with No 8 Callum Heseltine before the support arrived and finally Crickmay was able to drive over from short range.
The home men kept up the pressure and scored with the best try of the game. It started with a break from scrum half George Wright. The ball was recycled and sent wide for centre Doug Heseltine to make a fine break to put Shoesmith in wide out. Josh Kelly added the conversion.
In the final minutes Rishworthians were desperate for the ball but were unable to wrestle it from the grasp of the Keighley forwards, who used a series of pick and drives to wind down the clock.
The Development team lost 24-22 at Keighley after leading 22-0 at half-time.
There were two tries for Lee Atkinson, who also kicked a conversion, and others from Gerard Rollings and Luke Sutcliffe.