Rugby League: Vievers opens way for Huddersfield

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Keighley 8

Huddersfield 18

Huddersfield finally made their extra ability and experience tell at Cougar Park, but only after battling their way through a fierce Division Premiership semi-final.

They won through despite being outplayed for the first 40 minutes by a Keighley side that no longer has many of its better know players, but still shows all its old spirit.

Huddersfield played into their hands during the first half. Some of the visitors' leading lights not least that giant of the modern game, Garry Schofield, who later went off with a leg injury, being guilty of the sort of passes that would have the recipients nervously checking his health insurance.

Keighley's rugged and unpretentious approach brought them an eight-point lead at the break, with their full back Matt Foster, scoring the only try with a thrilling 60-yard run.

The whole flavour of the match changed immediately the teams returned for the second half. David Larder knocked on straight from the kick-off and from the subsequent possession Danny Russell and Phil Veivers handled crisply to allow Craig Weston to claim Huddersfield's first points.

Keighley's line was battered almost continually until, after 64 minutes, Huddersfield at last took the lead they had threatened. Russell darted at the defence from acting-half-back and slipped the reverse pass that saw Neil Harmon barge his way over the try line.

Paul Cook, another of Huddersfield's expensive signings in a bid to get to get into the Super League that has so far failed in its objective, landed the conversion, soon followed by a penalty when the Keighley hooker, Jason Ramshaw, was caught stealing the ball in a tackle.

With five minutes to play, the outstanding Veivers, possessor of so many losers' medals from his long career with St Helens, opened up the stubborn Keighley defence again. He released Weston whose final pass sent in Andy Cheetham to ensure that Huddersfield will be part of the occasion at Old Trafford next Sunday.

Keighley: Foster, Wray, A Gibbons, Gamson, Billy, Owen, Robinson, Hall, Ramshaw, Julian, Stephenson, Roberts, Larder. Substitues used: Smith, D Gibbons, Cain, Gately.

Huddersfield: Veivers, Cook, Bunyan, Hanger, Cheetham, Weston, Davys, Harmon, Russell, Fozzard, Bowes, Sturm, Schofield. Substutitues used: Booth, Berry, Neill, King.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).