Keighley Cougars Reserves 30 Halifax Reserves 42

COUGARS reserves returned to league action after nearly a two-month lay-off with defeat to Halifax in a pulsating home game.

Scott Lindsey’s side broke the deadlock in the third minute when half-back Callum Smithson sidestepped his way through the defensive line to touch down.

Halifax levelled soon after though when Morgan Punchard burst through and drew in the full back Kieran Smith before getting the offload to Chris Cullimore who dived over underneath the uprights.

Jamie Stringer handed the visitors the lead for the first time shortly after the quarter-hour mark as he pounced after Keighley had failed to deal with a grubber kick.

But this game continued to ebb and flow and the Cougars scored two quickfire tries to retake the lead.

Liam Darville was first provider as he flicked a Smith kick on behind him into the arms of debutant centre Jack McMillan, who crashed over from close range.

Darville then grabbed a try for himself as he skipped through an attempted tackle to race over.

But the scores were level at the interval as Punchard opted to kick early in the tackle count and Chester Butler was quickest to score.

After a stuttering start to the second half, the first team to strike were the hosts as veteran winger Vinny Finigan dived in at the corner.

Connor McGrath soon levelled though from a grubber kick and, in Halifax’s next attacking set, Will Calcott powered his way through beneath the sticks from close range.

The Cougars soon equalled the scores for the fifth time on the hour mark after a lovely team move was finished by loose forward Bradley Clarkson, who was only awarded the try after official Tom Crashley consulted with his touch judges.

But Martin Gonzalez’s Fax side went on to win with two further tries, the first from Martyn Reilly, who powered his way over a would-be tackler to squeeze across the line.

Aiden Hema then sealed victory for Halifax with a try with two minutes remaining.