Keighley 27

Hullensians 5

THE new era under head coach Danny McGee began in fine style with a bonus-point victory in Yorkshire Division One.

McGee replaced previous head coach Dave Duxbury who left the club by mutual agreement in the build-up to Saturday's clash.

Even without the promising Josh Slingsby and Adam Kemp, both on duty with the county Under-18s side, and the late withdrawal through injury of prop Luke Currie, they were at last able to field something approaching their strongest line-up.

The return of Sean Kelly and skipper Alex Brown were key features in a strong back division and the previous week’s missing forwards James Fox, Leigh Sugden and Dave Smith also returned to bolster the pack.

Defences prevailed in the early stages until, after 10 minutes of play, a neat break and dummy by Brown opened the way for centre Adam Horsfall to touch down with Brown converting.

Hullensians in turn applied pressure on the Keighley line but a break out by prop Craig Spencer led to play being worked upfield.

Keighley’s pack arrived in strength and it was fitting that Spencer was on hand to force his way over under the posts allowing Brown to convert.

The visitors struck back quickly and a crossfield attack created the overlap for speedy winger Josh Langford to score wide out in the entertaining clash at Rose Cottage.

Keighley’s brief lack of control of the game ended when Brown calmed nerves with a long range penalty goal after spurning two earlier opportunities by kicking to the corner where Hullensians repelled attempts to maul to the line.

As half time approached, a dazzling run by Seeley from his own half combined with a neat dummy was well supported by Kelly, who touched down unopposed giving Keighley a well-deserved 22-5 lead.

The second half was more evenly contested.

Assisted by replacement Will Armitage’s 10-minute spell in the sin bin, Hullensians took advantage of some lethargic play by Keighley, who were forced to defend their line for a lengthy period.

The siege was finally lifted by some smart work by replacement Joe Kaye.

The side eventually found another gear and, with Fox and Luke Carter performing well at the line-outs and the forwards as a whole working solidly, was able to supply the backs with the ball they needed as they sought the fourth bonus-point try.

They were finally rewarded when right wingman Jake Duxbury finished off a sweeping attack to touch down in the left-hand corner to complete an excellent afternoon’s work for the side.

The victory leaves Keighley third-from-bottom in the table on 16 points from their opening 12 games of the season, a record which includes three wins and nine defeats.

This was certainly a marked improvement on their previous league game, a 46-12 defeat at Beverley.

This Saturday's game at high-flying Heath will, however, be a more challenging exercise.