Batley Bulldogs 42 Keighley Cougars 10

Keighley Cougars got their Championship season off to a dreadful start after they were well beaten by Batley.

Playing up the famous Mount Pleasant slope, the Cougars really struggled as they went in at half-time 22-4 down, with Danny Lawton going over for their only try.

Things did not get any better for the visitors in the second half either as they shipped a further 20 points, despite looking to have more of a foothold in the game and at one stage having hopes of a bonus point after Paul White’s score.

Former St Helens full back Miles Greenwood was Cougars’ chief destroyer with a hat-trick on his Batley debut.

It was the second time that Keighley had tasted defeat at the home of the Bulldogs this year after a pre-season loss.

Head coach Paul March was understandably downbeat after his first competitive game in charge. He said: “I’m not pleased because there were certain parts of that game where we mentally switched off when something went against us and that’s where we need to bar up and start to try and force errors.

“We may have been 18 points down at half-time but it was tough going and we believed that we could turn it around.

“But every time we made an error they went down to the other end of the pitch and scored. Some of the defensive stuff was just soft from us.

“I’m a part of that as well and it’s something we need to sort out quickly.”

An injury-hit squad also did March no favours but he refused to use that as an excuse.

He added: “Building up to the game we had Brendon Rawlins, Ollie Pursglove, Jermaine Wray and Craig Moss all out long term but we’ve got a squad that should be capable of dealing with that.

“We came to the game believing we could get a result but we’ve been squashed in round one and we’ve got to look at everything now and see what we have to do differently.”

Batley Bulldogs: Greenwood: Potts, Walton, Faal, Johnson: Black, Hemingway: Smith, Mennell, Rowe, Davies, Applegarth, Lindsay. Subs: Bretherton, Flanaghan, Hirst, Alex Walmsley
Keighley Cougars: Jesse Sheriffe; White, Lawton, Williams, Barnett; Jones Leatherbarrow; Hesketh, Feather, Law, Chandler, Sagar, Shepherd. Subs: March, Shickell, Jode Sheriffe, Lynam.