KEIGHLEY Cougars opened their account for 2020 with an enthralling last-gasp 26-24 victory over the Dewsbury Rams in a fiercely contested friendly.

Two tries in the final three minutes from Mo Agoro and Jason Muranka saw Rhys Lovegrove’s side snatch victory from the jaws of the defeat.

Dewsbury took advantage of Keighley ill-discipline to open the scoring, as Dom Speakman scooted over from close range on the back of a penalty for obstruction.

Things threatened to boil over after Liam Johnson and Keighley new boy Dalton Desmond-Walker exchanged pleasantries after the former forced a knock on.

But, from the resulting scrum, the ball was worked wide and the Rams took advantage of numbers on the overlap, as Adam Ryder dived over in the corner on his first return to Cougar Park.

Another big hit led to another Dewsbury try. After Keighley's Josh Lynam smashed Paul Sykes, Will Oakes picked up the loose ball and weaved his way through to offload to Johnson, who powered over from close range.

This sparked the Cougars into life, and they got right back into the game with two quickfire tries before the interval.

The first try saw Louis Sheriff break the line before offloading the ball to Jack Miller, who in turn put an exquisite grubber through for the supporting Jake Webster to pounce and score.

Spencer Darley then knocked on the restart but Taylor Prell intercepted on his own line and went the length of the field to dive over.

Miller’s conversion pulled the score back to 18-10 at the break and Cougars’ next set on the Dewsbury line saw Darley held up, before Miller found space to send Sheriff crashing over.

Dewsbury thought they had sealed victory with minutes remaining, as they worked their way up the Cougar Park slope on the back of a penalty.

From the set-piece, Speakman went over in a carbon copy of his try in the first half.

Davey Dixon then spilt a kick under no pressure, which allowed Agoro to pounce and set up the grandstand finish.

From the restart, Muranka broke through a tackle and raced 50 metres, sending Cougar Park into raptures as he secured a memorable victory.

Several quality players were missing for Keighley, including Dan Parker and Dan Hawksworth, who turned out for Castleford Tigers at the weekend.

Pressed on that after the game, head coach Lovegrove said: “I massively wanted a reserves team of our own. Everyone knows what that would mean to us.

“But we had six or seven players missing today who have all played over 150 first grade games. If they don’t make this team for Round One, then they need somewhere to play otherwise they’re not going to be able to make the team.

“I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Daryl (Powell, Castleford’s head coach) and just said if he had a few spots going in his reserves, then I had a few first-graders that could play.

“I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly with the two Dans but Daryl messaged me on Wednesday night asking if I had any big, strong, direct middles that could do a job in that division.

“The first thing that came into my mind was that it was an amazing opportunity to play Super League, friendly or not.

“The second thing was it allowed me to give people proper minutes today. If I’d had 22 playing today, I’d have had to greatly cut down people’s minutes and I’d have got to see less of certain players.

“So both Dans got to play in the division above, a high-intensity game, and the players, as you saw today, got an opportunity to put a performance in.

“That’s really good. Looking at the future, it (the agreement with Cas) should be good for us.”