Keighley Cougars Reserves 10 Wigan Reserves 46

COUGARS opened their Reserves Championship campaign with a battling defeat against the Wigan Warriors.

Keighley conceded the first try as Reece Hamlett took advantage of a missed tackle from Joshua Smith to break down the left wing and dive over in the corner.

Warriors centre Jack Higginson then scored the first of a hat-trick as he stepped through a gap in the defensive line to touch down.

From the restart, Australian loose forward Gabriel Hamlin broke through the line and raced 70 metres to go in underneath the sticks.

Discipline played a part in the visitors' fourth try as consecutive sets on the Keighley line finally took their toll, Liam Paisley crashing over from close range.

Keighley finished the first half the stronger, however, and scored two tries of their own to keep themselves in it at the interval.

Jose Kenga powered his way over from ten metres to register Cougars' first points with Lewis Fairhurst converting.

Then great work from Callum Smithson at the play-the-ball created numbers on the overlap and presented Keenan McConville with a walk-in try to the right of the uprights.

A slow start to the second half from Keighley proved the difference as Hamlett registered his second try before Higginson added a quick-fire brace to seal his hat-trick, the first of which saw him race 30 metres to cross.

Jay Panter was then just fingertips away from scoring a spectacular try on the back of a cross-field Fairhurst kick but Wigan were quick off the mark with the resulting tap and went the length of the pitch to put the centre in.

Panter was unlucky not to score once more as he again was fingertips away from touching down a Fairhurst kick, with Joseph Havard having a try disallowed for a forward pass for Wigan.

Ben Holcroft scored the evening’s final try, touching down after hooker Amir Bourouh broke from the play-the-ball.

COUGARS: Panter, Smith, McConville, Scully, Barker, Fairhurst, Smithson, Kenga, Lumb, Ross, Levy, Crotty, Clarkson. Subs: Walters, Adams, Kinnaird, Samociuk-Barnes, Harlow-Stephenson, Stubbs, Nowell.