KEIGHLEY Cougars' road to Wembley came to a screeching halt at the first hurdle in the 1895 Cup with a 38-12 defeat at Newcastle Thunder.

Both sides had early opportunities to score with Jamie Thackray held up over the line for the Cougars before Mo Agoro couldn’t get onto the end of a Remy Marginet kick for the Thunder.

Marginet was sin-binned after nine minutes for kicking out in the tackle but, despite the man disadvantage, Newcastle scored two tries in the half-back’s absence.

Agoro opened the scoring as he beat Matt Welham in a footrace to the ball on the back of a grubber from debutant Dan Coates after Rhys Clarke offloaded out the tackle.

Newcastle extended their lead further as they worked Keighley down the middle of the park before creating numbers on the overlap to allow Alex Clegg to dive home in the corner.

The Cougars then felt aggrieved that Newcastle were not reduced to 12 men once more after Alfie Seeley was taken out off the ball resulting in a knee injury that would end the full-back’s afternoon later in the game.

Craig Lingard’s side briefly got themselves back in the game as a break by Seeley allowed Jack Miller to kick the ball into open space from which Welham picked up the ball and raced round to touch down next to the posts.

The home side re-opened the eight-point gap between the two sides as Jack Arnold was caught cold at marker and Marginet raced through the space to stroll underneath the crossbar.

Newcastle sealed victory with 3 quickfire tries in the space of five minutes early in the second-half.

The first came through Kieran Gill who was the beneficiary of great play from Marginet, who sold the Cougars a dummy pass that allowed Conor Fitzsimmons to break the line and put the ball on a plate for the Castleford loanee.

From the restart, Thunder worked the ball through hands, and this allowed Agoro to race to the corner for his second despite the best efforts of Macauley Hallett.

Clegg sealed his own brace as he raced home in the corner as the Keighley defence appeared to switch-off.

Despite Gill also bagging a second of the afternoon after the Cougars were caught short numbers wise, the visitors refused to roll over and take a beating.

And they got their rewards for this effort just before the full-time hooter as Christopher Cullimore scurried over from dummy-half to touch down.