KEIGHLEY reduced their deficit to 10 points with a first win of the season against the previously undefeated Coventry Bears.

It was the first home match since Cougarmania stalwart Mick O'Neill returned to the club after his consortium took control following a troubled winter which saw them deducted 12 points.

And the team lived up to the occasion with a 40-8 victory over a side who had beaten West Wales and highly-fancied Newcastle Thunder.

The game was played in horrible conditions throughout, with the driving rain and muddy surface playing a factor in a closely-contested encounter.

And it took until the 18th minute for the first points of the afternoon to be scored as Nick Newman took the two points on offer after a Coventry man was taken late off the ball with a shoulder charge.

The Bears then extended their lead in bizarre yet controversial circumstances with the Keighley faithful at that end of the ground outraged with the decision of referee Jon Roberts to award the try.

Cougars old boy Nathan Conroy, on the back of his own 40-20, knocked the ball on near to the Cougars line but the official ruled the hand that had knocked the ball down was a Keighley one and Chris Barratt touched down the loose ball.

However, Keighley then turned the game around to take a two-point lead into the interval.

The first try came immediately after the Coventry score when they knocked on the restart and, from the resulting scrum, the ball was worked to Macauley Hallett, who sold the dummy to create the space and race through to score.

And Keighley then took the lead on the back of another scrum as Will Cooke took the ball from the scrum and handed off the attempted tackle to go over in the corner.

Craig Lingard’s side came firing out of the traps in the second half with two tries in just four minutes from the restart.

The first saw Davey Dixon score after the Bears defence allowed a Benn Hardcastle kick on the last to bounce.

Then from the restart, Jamie Thackray and Billy Gaylor both broke down field before the ball was worked across the line to Hallett, who raced home for his second of the afternoon.

And the onslaught continued through Jack Miller who slid over from close range after using the conditions to his advantage.

Hardcastle extended the Cougars lead further from the boot after Ben Gray was penalised for a ball steal.

The visitors couldn’t handle what was being thrown at them and it just got worse for Coventry as namesake Jack Coventry powered through four Bears defenders to squeeze over.

James Feather wrapped up the win with a try from dummy-half.