Keighley Cougars 14 Halifax 28

Keighley’s five-match winning run was ended after Halifax ground out a hard-fought victory.

Cougars, who featured ten former Fax players in their line-up, had the chance to leapfrog their local rivals into fourth with a victory.

But the visitors toughed it out for the spoils and even denied the home side a deserved bonus point with a late try from Paul Mennell.

Keighley’s strength and conditioning coach Adam Mitchell believed his side should have done better in attack.

“We’ve only got ourselves to blame for not getting the result,” he said.

“If we’d been patient, it was there for the taking. Halifax are a good side but we’re a good side as well and until we start getting these little errors out of our game, we won’t be a top-four side.

“We’re nearly there but everything we’ve done over the last six games wasn’t there today. We just blew it.”

In front of a crowd of more than 1,200, Halifax opened the scoring when, on the back of a penalty, Luke Ambler and Scott Murrell combined to send in Ross Divorty. Steve Tyrer converted to put them six up.

The home side piled the pressure on the Fax line. However, they failed to turn it into points and the visitors made them pay.

Divorty went from scorer to provider, as he fed Ryan Fieldhouse through to the line. Tyrer made no mistake with the boot to send them further clear.

Keighley hit back after former Halifax scrum half Paul Handforth’s scuffed grubber kick was picked up by Jode Sherrife, who then powered his way through to the line. Danny Jones slotted over the conversion to cut the deficit to six at halftime.

Fax shot out of the blocks after the interval. In the first set, Tommy Saxton’s break downfield laid the platform for Dane Manning to cross on the next tackle.

Cougars replied when Jones’ cut-out pass set up James Haley on the inside and he went through to the line.

All the momentum was now with the home side as James Feather then scooted his way over from dummy half.

But Jones missed the crucial kickable conversion that would have drawn them level.

The visitors quickly went over to extend their lead to eight points through Ambler on the back of Murrell’s offload, with Tyrer making no mistake with the boot.

Mennell then cruelly took the bonus point away from Keighley in the final minute as he left Josh Lynam in his wake to seal the victory before Tyrer rounded off the scoring.

Cougars: Jesse Sheriffe; Barnett, Lawton, Haley, White; Jones, Handforth; Shickell, Feather, Hesketh, Lynam, Rawlins, Lindsay. Subs: Jode Sheriffe, Sagar, Cherryholme, Haigh.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Fox, Manning, Tyrer, Saxton; Murrell Johnston; Tonks, Kaye, Ambler, Bracek, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Mennell, Davies, Casey, Spencer.