Rugby League: Keighley pack in the points: Wasyliw on target

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Keighley. .34

Hunslet. . .6

DESPITE slackening their efforts considerably in the second half, the Third Division champions, Keighley, showed in the first round of the Divisional Premiership why they have been too good for teams at this level.

Yesterday's turn-out against a poorly supported Hunslet was 3,000 below the 5,400 capacity that saw their title-deciding match against Batley last week, but there was still a buzz about Lawkholme Lane as Keighley raced into an unbeatable first- half lead.

The strength of their pack, relying heavily on experienced overseas players, was the dominant feature of an impressive 40 minutes.

John Wasyliw, who has been quietly closing in on the league's all-time record for points in a season, put them ahead with an early penalty. After Hunslet had made and wasted a couple of early chances the home forwards took control.

Ian Gately, whose signing for another season was announced, along with that of Andy Eyres before the match, slipped an excellent ball to Martin Wood for the first try. Joe Grima, reprieved from a four-match suspension, made a break to set Wasyliw up for the second and then the former All Black, Mark Brooke-Cowden forced his way over.

Wood, who supplied the pass for that try, soon went over for his second. The feeling that everything was going Keighley's way intensified when Wasyliw hit the post with a penalty and Charlie McAllister scored from the rebound.

An ill-disciplined Hunslet added to their problems by having Steve Langton and David Brook sent to the sin-bin in the first half and their most experienced player, Paul Harkin, was sent off four minutes from the break for a verbal outburst to the referee, Brian Galtress.

Once depleted, they clung on well, with only a try by Wayne Race and a Wasyliw penalty getting past them in the second half. Langton got a try that Hunslet deserved 10 minutes from the end, but Keighley had shown in the first half that they have the ability that could trouble Rochdale, of the Second Division, in the next round on Sunday.

Keighley: Race; Wasyliw, Farrell (McAllister, 31), Milner, Stephenson; Dixon (Farrell, 64), Appleby; Hiley, Ramshaw, Grimmer, Brooke- Cowden (Gately, 58), Gately (Hall, 30), Wood.

Hunslet: Booth; Bartliss, Langton, Beath (Speight, 76), Francis; Brook, Harkin; Precious, R Sampson, Currie (Speight, 25 (McElhatton, 40), Cook (Currie, 65), Ellis, L Sampson.

Referee: B Galtress (Bradford).