Rugby League: Keighley pack a punch

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The Independent Online
Keighley Cougars. . . .35

Huddersfield. . . . . .10

THERE is every chance that one of these teams will be in the First Division next season. Keighley Cougars shortened the odds on it being them with a typically robust display in front of a near-capacity crowd.

With three-quarters of their strongest back-line absent, Keighley relied more heavily on the power of their weighty pack. That uncomplicated approach put Huddersfield under pressure from the start and it was no surprise when Steve Hall ploughed over from close range in the 10th minute.

Huddersfield, whose promotion challenge has shown signs of faltering in recent weeks, had the boost of new owners taking the club out of the hands of an administrator yesterday. The removal of that uncertainty helps their cause, but even their coach, Alex Murphy, has expressed doubts over whether they can cope in the top flight.

Keighley had time before the interval to score a second try and another goal, Martin Wood's kick eluding Jason Laurence and Wood himself following up to touch down.

Jason Ramshaw stretched the lead with a drop-goal, but Huddersfield were not deterred. Brad Davis's kicking finally yielded a try, Neil Flanagan scooping up the loose ball and Greg Pearce tagging on the goal points.

The encouragement was short-lived, however, Ramshaw soon burrowing through for Keighley's third try. Hall grabbed his second try for Keighley, and Dave King's reply came too late to win the visitors back into contention.

Hall completed his hat-trick with five minutes to play and Wood underlined Keighley's superiority with his second, Walker bringing his goal tally to five.

Keighley: Butterfield; Race, P Stephenson, Farrell, Walker; Wood, Eyres; Hill (A Stephenson, 63), Ramshaw, Gately (Hill, 72), Hall, Marr, Brooke-Cowden (Berry, 73).

Huddersfield: Laurence; Thomas, Pickles, Hellewell, Chapman; Davis, Flanagan; King, Barnett (Blacker, 18), Pucill (Naidole, 54), Senior, Maders, Pearce.

Referee: D Atkin (York).