It started with shovels and brushes and ended with four points in the bag for Sheffield Rugby Club’s promotion-chasing side.
The heavy snow resulted in a high noon call to arms for the players as they cleared the lines to enable the clash against Keighley to go ahead.
It was a job well done as Sheffield carved out a 17-3 victory over the fourth-placed side to retain a stranglehold on second spot in Yorkshire One.
Unfortunately there appears to be no stopping leaders Malton and Norton who made it 17 wins on the bounce with an unconvincing 12-6 victory at Scarborough to open up a 16 point gap although the Abbeydale side do have a match in hand and have still to play them at home, the crunch test having been rescheduled for April 30.
However, Heath’s defeat at Bridlington means that Sheffield extended their advantage over the third-placed side to 11 points. A trip to Castleford awaits on Saturday followed by another away-day at Ilkley.
Revenge was very much on the agenda against Keighley as the visitors had won convincingly on their own patch back in October and Sheffield also needed to get last week’s draw against lowly Dinnington out of their system.
The old master, John Dudley returned to the second row while Chris Machen and Ryan Amos were back at tight head prop and inside centre respectively. Tom White stepped up from the bench to partner Dudley and Dave Ellis moved from second row to blindside flanker. Young Liam Wallace came in at fullback with Ewan Reed and Joe Cribley injured.
Sheffield got off to a flier when fly-half Donal Collins landed a penalty after just three minutes but they failed to build on this during the next 20 minutes during which time the visitors took control. They squandered two penalty attempts and Collins also twice hit the post with his efforts.
The ‘bar of soap’ conditions didn’t help but it was the home side who finally snapped into action as Collins added another three points.
From the kick-off they powered back into Keighley territory and a searing run from left wing Alex Hill took Sheffield to within feet of the line. That was all arch poacher-cum-captain and No.8, Andy Kelly required and he scored a fine try wide out on the left. Incredibly, Collins’ conversion attempt hit a posts for a third time.
The visitors were a player short within minutes of the second half after a sin-binning and Collins tagged on another penalty to make it 14-0. Keighley responded with a penalty of their own and then Sheffield found themselves reduced to 14 men after Machen was handed a 10 minute cooling off. Despite dominating Kelly and Co. had to wait until the second minute of added time to add to their tally courtesy of a Collins penalty.
Team: Liam Wallace, James Montgomery, Tom King, Ryan Amos, Alex Hill, Donal Collins, Matt Poste, Tommy Marples, Carl Mortimer, Chris Machen, John Dudley, Tom White, Dave Ellis, Martin Balshaw, Andy Kelly (capt). Replacements: Adam Smith, Dale Goulding, Tom Metcalfe.