Doncaster 30 Keighley Cougars 12

Paul March endured a tough day at the office after being sin-binned during Cougars’ first defeat of the season today.

March’s side had opened their Kingstone Press Championship campaign with an impressive 36-14 home win over Whitehaven seven days earlier.

But they were a distinct second best at the Keepmoat Stadium against a Doncaster outfit who outscored them by six tries to three, thus denying Cougars a losing bonus point.

March and Doncaster replacement Dean Hadley were shown yellow cards for their part in a melee which resulted in a mass brawl between both sets of players shortly before half-time.

Cougars had been given a major boost beforehand when close-season signing Ash Lindsay was passed fit to start after recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

Lindsay lined up at hooker in the absence of skipper James Feather, who is set for several weeks on the sidelines with a groin injury.

March continued in the halves alongside Paul Handforth while Lewis Graham made his debut off the bench after recovering from a broken hand.

The match pitted Cougars against a Doncaster side who had begun their own campaign with a fine victory at Workington.

Doncaster began strongly and Paul Cooke’s fine pass sent Stewart Sanderson over the line and they soon grabbed a second when Russ Spiers found Mike Kelly in space to dart over. Cougars replied through Daley Williams but Doncaster hit back to score again immediately when Sanderson’s perfect pass sent Dave Scott over.

Three minutes before half-time, a melee saw a penalty awarded to Cougars but only after March and Hadley had been sent to the cooler.

Cougars scored soon after through Paul White to make it 14-8 at the break but after the restart Mick Kelly sent Sanderson over for his second try. Liam Welham crossed for Doncaster and, although the visitors scored again through White’s second, Nev Morrison put paid to any hopes of a bonus point for the Cougars when he scored in the dying embers.

Cougars are back in action on Sunday when they face Rochdale at Spotland.