Keighley Albion u18s 34

Wibsey u18s 24

A GREAT start and great finish probably sums up the highlights for Keighley Albion Under-18s as they overcame a dogged Wibsey side at Odsal to win the Bradford Cup.

Albion got a dream start as Ethan Lawrie forced his way over from close range and he was then involved again as he sent a cut-out pass out to winger Will Hartley, who tore down his wing to score. Joel Livock added both goals to give Albion a 12-0 lead.

Wibsey hit back with a try of their own to peg Albion back to 12-4 before Will Hartley gathered a kick and found space down his wing to go through and score to give Albion a 16-4 advantage.

Before and after half-time Albion undid themselves as a combination of not being able to complete their sets and not being strong enough defensively saw the tables turned as Wibsey posted three unanswered tries either side of the interval. With the conversions Albion suddenly found themselves 24-16 down as they went into the final quarter.

Albion were not for rolling over, however, and began to take the game back to Wibsey.

Second rower Ed King looked like he could have scored but tipped on to centre Joe Pearson who had the ball dislodged in the tackle as he went over the try line.

Albion continued to press and a break from man of the match Zak Blackburn saw him get the ball away to Joe Dearnley, who outpaced the cover defence to touch down. Livock added the goal and the fight back was on at 24-22.

From the kick-off Josh Slingsby came in to scoot from acting half and shook a number of would be defenders off to break from halfway and go in under the posts to leave Livock a simple conversion and take the lead for Albion 28-24.

With Wibsey beginning to tire, Albion continued to press their advantage and look for further scores.

Good direction from Lawrie saw the forwards set the platform for half back Harry Normington to work a move to the left.

As Normington took the ball to the line he fed Dearnley, who then zipped a pass to Harley Robertshaw, who timed his run perfectly to cut through the Wisbech defence and get round under the posts to score. Livock again adding the goal to seal the cup win for Albion.

All the Albion players deserved credit for sticking to the task and not giving up on the game to seal the win and secure their first trophy of the season.

Lawrie, Adam Gaunt, Livock, Dearnley and King also deserved the plaudits but a special mention to Blackburn who was only into his second game back after recovering from a badly broken arm and did superbly well to pick up the man of the match award.

Albion have their second final when they play for the Yorkshire Juniors League Cup at Batley Bulldogs on September 21 and will be hoping to bring more silverware home.

Meanwhile, in only their second season of competitive rugby, the two Keighley Albion Under-13s squads have been taking their respective leagues by storm.

Following two promotions last season and a summer of recruitment, the U13s have been able to field two teams. The Blacks in Division Four and the Reds in Division Six.

The Blacks squad, newly-formed with players from a number of Keighley schools, have produced an incredible unbeaten run of 17 league and cup games.

This has seen them promoted into Division Three, where they have continued their impressive run, knowing that five more victories will seal the league title.

In addition to their league form, the Blacks capped off a superb first half of the season with victory against West Bowling in the Bradford and Keighley Challenge Cup final, at Odsal, earlier this month.

In a fierce and physical encounter, Albion came out on top thanks to tries from Brody Leach (2), Jacob Davies, Isaac Denton and Micky Lee Whitaker - along with conversions from Charlie Savage and Kyle Horne (Man of the Match).

The team, so used to attacking, had their backs against the wall in the second half but managed to pull through.

After a desperate final two minutes of excellent defence, Albion get themselves over the line and captain Joe Priestley was able to lift the Black’s first piece of silverware.

The Albion coaches gave a special mention to full-back Charlie Savage who was badly injured during the first half of the cup final resulting in him having to have an operation on his shoulder.

After the summer break, the Blacks will be focused on their charge towards the title, as well as their upcoming second cup final against Leeds Irish - to be played at Batley Bulldogs on Saturday, September 21.