Halifax 13, Keighley Cougars 12

Battling Keighley Cougars lost by just a point to Halifax in a hard-fought tussle at the Shay last night.

The Cougars will take a lot out of this game against the leaders as they go into their Carnegie Challenge Cup fourth-round tie with the Warrington Wolves next week.

The home side drew first blood, with the influential Sean Penkywitz’s grubber in goal too good for Anthony Thackeray to turn down, with Paterson making it 6-0.

Keighley were quickly back into it though through Richard Jones, who ran on to Paul March’s ball and crashed over, Danny Jones making it 6-6.

Penkywitz was quick to get Halifax back on the front foot as he scampered from dummy half and played in Steve Tyrer for a score, Paterson again improving.

For the second week running, the introduction of head coach Jason Demetriou brought the Cougars’ play up a level, but it was Danny Jones who levelled for the visitors. The playmaker bounced off Ben Heaton to cross and then booted over the extras.

The second half may have not provided any tries but it did give the 2,378 crowd an engaging forward battle.

Paul Handforth’s long-range drop goal broke Keighley hearts to seal victory for the hosts.

But Cougars kept on plugging away and held out to secure themselves a vital bonus point against the Shaymen, who have won four out of four matches.