Batley Bullsdogs 32 Keighley Cougars 16
Keighley Cougars were beaten comfortably following a second-half collapse at Batley Bulldogs.
Tries from new signings Joe Chandler and Sean Hesketh, alongside a score from Jesse Sheriffe, saw Keighley take a 16-8 lead but 24 unanswered points put the game past Paul March’s men.
Both teams will battle it out again in the first round of the new Co-operative Championship season in three weeks time at Cougar Park.
That game was clearly in the mind of March before kick-off.
“We play Batley in our opening game of the season so we changed our structure in comparison to our previous two games,” he explained.
“We weren’t as expansive as we have been and we shortened our play up a bit. That shows we can adapt our style depending on who we come up against.”
March conceded there were areas in which they need to improve.
He added: “We take a lot of positives from that despite the result. Attitude-wise our performance was excellent and we were doing a lot of the little things really well.
“Our contact was pretty good and our floor work was decent but there obviously is still a bit to work on.
“We had two 19-year-olds in Ryan Patchett and Charlie Eccleston making debuts for us and they both performed admirably.
“We can take massive positives from the way we played in those first 60 minutes but we had to defend our own line there in the last and good teams like Batley will punish you.”
Cougars: Moss, White, Barnett, Lawton, Jesse Sheriffe, Jones, Leatherbarrow, Jode Sheriffe, Smith, Shickell, Pursglove, Sagar, Shepherd. Subs: March, Patchett, Hesketh, Wray, Chandler, Reed, Eccleston.