Rochdale Hornets 14 Keighley Cougars 40

Paul White claimed a stunning four-try haul as Cougars destroyed Rochdale with a second-half masterclass at Spotland.

The winger took centre stage on an afternoon when player-coach Paul March came off the bench to exert a huge influence on proceedings.

The match also saw Luke Haigh, formerly of Thornhill Trojans, Salford Red Devils and Dewsbury Rams, make his debut.

The half-back, who spent last season with Hunslet Hawks, has signed a short-term contract but Gareth Langley scored twice in the opening nine minutes to put the Hornets 8-0 up.

Cougars replied through a brilliant individual try from half-back Paul Handforth in the 21st minute after he scythed through the home defence to score.

Rochdale grabbed a third through Matt Dawson three minutes later but the introduction of March shortly before the half-hour mark turned the match in Keighley’s favour.

March was pivotal in helping White to score his first three minutes before half-time to make it 14-10 to the hosts at the break.

But Cougars upped the tempo in exhilarating fashion after the restart to take Rochdale to the cleaners and romp to the spoils.

March said: “We made a slow start because I thought we defended too much in the first half and it took a lot out of petrol out of us.

“However, we made changes and gradually got a grip on the game. We built our own pressure and in the second half we upped the tempo and that was evident for all to see.

“We’re not an individual side but Whitey has scored four tries and I thought Ash Lindsay was superb too.”

The second half belonged to the Cougars as they were allowed to offload at will.

They took full advantage, White completing his hat-trick in a blistering 20-minute spell, one of which was converted by Handforth.

March crashed over from close range, White added his fourth and Lewis Graham added another before James Craven completed the scoring in the corner.