Keighley Cougars 40 Dewsbury Rams 20

Richie Barnett’s hat-trick of tries helped Keighley end a run of three straight league defeats with a win over Dewsbury.

Cougars were in fine form in the first half and raced into a 24-point lead after tries from Barnett (2), Luke Haigh and Ross Peltier.

They then held off a Rams comeback in the second half and player-coach Paul March was delighted with his side’s display.

“Was that our best performance of the season? It was the performance I’ve been most delighted with,” he said.

“It was a near perfect first half from us. There was that last couple of minutes where we let them in and we could have easily shut up shop and they could’ve got momentum.

“But we came out in the second half and toughed it out.”

Cougars opened the scoring on the back of a penalty which gave Danny Jones and Paul Handforth the chance to combine and feed Barnett in at the corner.

Keighley quickly extended their lead after Brendon Rawlins spun out of a tackle and then found Haigh on his shoulder, who crossed under the sticks.

March then stepped inside two defenders and turned on the afterburners before producing a looping pass to play in Barnett for his second on the right edge.

Cougars were now well on top and soon went over for their fourth try.

Peltier was set free close to the line by Handforth, with the bulldozing prop bouncing off one defender and touching down. Jones then added a penalty goal to make it 24-0.

Greg Scott scored just before half-time for Dews-bury, but Keighley scored the first try of the second half after a smart interception by Barnett saw him complete his hat-trick.

That setback did not deter the visitors, though, who quickly crossed for two tries in quick succession through Tommy Gallagher and Hyde to keep their slim chances alive.

Any hope of a miraculous comeback was thwarted, though, when Paul White crossed for Cougars in the corner.

Jones then booted over a penalty goal to further secure the result for the home side.

The Rams managed to gain some pride late on, however, with Stephen Nash crossing, but Keighley had the last laugh after Haigh scored on the hooter.

Cougars: Craven; Barnett, Lawton, Williams, White; Jones, Handforth; Sheriffe, Haigh, Hesketh, Lynam, Rawlins, March. Subs: Law, Cherryholme, Lee, Peltier. Attendance: 817