Head coach Craig Lingard was relieved to get Cougars through to the fourth round of the Challenge Cup after a tricky afternoon at the office.

Keighley progressed as they saw off a dogged Distington outfit 28-14 at Cougar Park.

In a game played in horrendous conditions in which the pitch was a real leveller throughout, the Cougars had to work hard to overcome the Cumbrian amateurs.

Lingard said: “It was a typical cup tie, and the wind, the rain, the snow and playing in the mud played a part, and I was just happy to get through the 80 minutes.

“Distington performed really well and in the first half hour they really played to the elements.

"They kicked early and turned us round and we had to adapt to that quickly.

“We needed to buy as much field position as we possibly could and we didn’t help ourselves with some uncharacteristic errors and poor decisions.

“It was backs to the wall at times but with the shape we put out there, we managed to get three quick tries.

“We've just got to show some more smartness. When we find something that's working we feel the need to try something else.”

Distington took an early lead when Clayton Sutton converted a penalty after the Cougars were penalised for interference in the tackle close to the line.

The visitors were then unlucky not to grab a brace of tries, the first seeing Gavin Martin knocking on as he slid over from close range.

Clayton Sutton thought he was in for a four-pointer, but a combination of the post protector and the greasy ball denied the centre.

Things were threatening to boil over after James Feather and Phil Lister exchanged pleasantries earlier in the first half and it came to blows on the half-hour mark as all 26 men got involved in a brawl.

After consulting with his touch judges, the official sent Feather and Scott George to the bin for a 10-minute cool-off.

Cougars got the first try as Matt Welham raced through a bus-sized gap that opened up in front of him and put the ball on a plate for the supporting Jack Coventry to dive over.

Distington would only trail by two points at the interval as Clayton Sutton converted following a ball steal.

Lingard’s side would have feared being on the wrong end of a giant-killing early in the second half as Lister beat Davey Dixon in the air from a George kick to score in the corner.

However, they rallied and four tries in the space of 10 second-half minutes paved the way for victory.

Harvey Hallas, on his second debut for the club, raced onto a Benn Hardcastle chip over the top to mark his return to Cougar Park with a try.

Alfie Seeley raced over in the corner after great link-up play between Jack Miller and Macauley Hallett to create the space on the overlap.

From the restart, the Cougars broke downfield and Jason Muranka was next over after he sold a superb dummy to score despite the interests of Steven Conway.

Seeley sealed his brace after great work again by Hallett to bring Greg Bedford inside off the wing.

Distington wouldn’t go down without a fight and Lister showed that spirit as he intercepted a looping pass to go the length of the field to score.

Shaun Adams was sin-binned for dissent after kicking the ball away for the visitors and on the hooter, Dixon scored after great work out of the scrum from Welham.

Cougars are ball number 10 in tonight's fourth-round draw which takes place at Odsal.


COUGARS: Welham 7; Dixon 5; Cooke 6; Hallett 7; Seeley 6; Miller 5; Hardcastle 5; Bailey 5; Feather 6; Arnold 6; Levy 6; Muranka 7; Parker 5. Subs: Coventry 7; Thackray 6; Million 6; Hallas 7.

DISTINGTON: S Conway 5; Bedford 5; C Sutton 7; Martin 6; Lister 6; George 7; Hewer 6; Ritchie 6; Friel 5; Stephenson 5; Dryden 6; McNicholas 7; S Sutton 5. Subs: Hodgson 5; Adams 6; A Conway 5; Clarke 6.