However, there were reasons to be cheerful and positive: a pleasant sunny afternoon, cold but bright, a beautiful carpet of a pitch and a sizeable crowd. And that's before we even mention the rugby.
Hosts were Keighley Rugby Club, proudly displaying their brand new artificial grass pitch. It really was a pleasure to walk on after weeks of trudging through mudbaths and puddles. Great to play on too I imagine, an effective way to reduce ankle and knee injuries. Must admit, some photographs look a little sterile with the absence of generous dollops of dirt. Many players looked as clean by the final whistle as they'd been at kick off, and not through lack of effort either.
On the field, Yorkshire began and ended well. Two tries to the good in a very short space of time, it was looking at one point as if the home side were going to coast through the match. It would require a better reader of rugby than I to judge whether a degree of complacency set in but certainly Cheshire began to exert themselves, stamping a mark on the game before half time.
This continued in the second half as the visitors built a substantial lead. Home supporters began to think in terms of damage limitation rather than victory. Amidst the overall ebb and flow, both sides were playing some excellent rugby; a good balance of open running and solid forward play.
With only a few minutes to go Yorkshire stopped the rot with a break out try and conversion that brought them to within six points of the visitors. Suddenly there was urgency as the scent of improbable victory wafted through the home camp. Sadly it was not to be as time ran out. However, Yorkshire had finished as they began: on the offensive. This must be encouraging for the battles to come against Lancashire and Durham.
Just seven miles apart (6.8 to be exact), Keighley and Bradford & Bingley Rugby Clubs lie in the Aire Valley in West Yorkshire. As already described, the winter sun shone brightly on them both for the two games last weekend. Interesting to note that Bradford & Bingley's first team pitch runs in a north-south direction whereas Keighley's goes east-west. So the setting sun illuminated the side of scrums, mauls and running Bees or Alnwick players beautifully. Photographing from the end of the of the pitch to capture tries necessitated being towards the sunny side so one had the lighter side of players rather than the shadowy one.
From a light point of view, Keighley's pitch produced more difficult photographing conditions on the day. Yorkshire played away from the sun in the first half so faces were often in shadow as they came towards the try line. By half time the sun had disappeared behind the hills so its benefits were lost. This frustration was heightened by it still being high enough to illuminate the landscape beyond the pitch so once again I had a darker foreground with a bright background. Not good!
Nevertheless, the overall light was excellent for time of year so I mustn't grumble overmuch. You can see more images of the game over on Flickr. I am astounded to report that the 150 or so images have been viewed over 40,000 times (around 350 views for each image) in the three days since the game.