Keighley Cougars 18, Halifax 42

Cougars player-coach Paul March gave his side a mixed report after their Boxing Day defeat this afternoon.

He said: “There was some good stuff in there and some disappointing stuff as well in terms of our errors.

“But Halifax had a very experienced side out, including Scott Murrell and Paul Hanson at half back.

“Halifax scored three soft tries and four tries from kicks and adapted well to our defensive system.

“They took their chances. However, Scott Leatherbarrow, Matt Daly and Ross Peltier all stood up well in their first matches for us against a Championship side and all three were also making their Keighley debuts.

“Sean Hesketh, Paul White and Joe Chandler were making their debuts for us against their former club, while we also gave a debut to Josh Lynham, who has only just turned 19.”

March added: “After our pre-season training so far we needed a game and we got out of this what we wanted.

“We will be better for it but we had a lot of young players out there at some stages and we lost concentration at times.

“Now I cannot wait to have a look at the video of this match and get the players back into training on January 4 as we build towards our next friendly against Barrow on January 6.

“I am sure we will be a force to be reckoned with come the Championship season.”

Cougars’ points came from replacement second row Peltier, half back Danny Jones and replacement wing Jack Copperwaite, with Leatherbarrow adding three goals.

Keighley’s only injury worry was Jamaican international Daley Williams (arm) but he assured March afterwards that there will be no lasting damage.

“That is one of the worries from pre-season friendlies,” said March. “You don’t want to pick up injuries.”

Cougars’ match at Barrow will have a 2pm kick-off and they will visit another Championship club when they face Doncaster on Sunday, January 20 (3pm).