KEIGHLEY RUFC kicked off their Yorkshire Two season with a nervy 21-16 home win over newly-promoted Baildon on Saturday, with head coach Dan McGee reserving praise for kicker Alex Brown.

The outside half nailed three penalties and a conversion in the victory, and McGee will be hoping for more of the same when Keighley host fellow freshly-relegated side Hullensians this weekend.

On Brown, McGee said: “He’s not that old, but he’s been around for a long time, having played in our first team since he was 17 or 18.

“He’s just come back from a break from the sport, as he has a young family.

“He’s a pivotal link between our forwards and backs, and his kicking is crucial to us too.

“He did miss one or two on Saturday, so that’s something for him to work on, but he’s come back to the side fitter and is looking stronger than ever.

“He’s like a new signing for us.”

McGee will need Brown to be on top form against Hullensians on Saturday.

They were relegated from Yorkshire One at the end of the shortened 2019/20 season with Keighley, but while the West Yorkshire side only just went down, Hullensians finished bottom by a mile.

But McGee warned: “They’re a bit of a bogey team for us. We always seem to beat them at home, but then we struggle away against them.

“We’ve not performed on a few occasions against them, so I’m not having it that it’s a done deal we’ll beat them.

“In a way, struggling a bit against Baildon was important for us.

“We’d had a good pre-season, and beat Yorkshire One teams in Bradford Salem and Old Rishworthian, so the Baildon game brought us back down to earth.

“There’ll be no over-confidence from us going into Hullensians.”

Keighley are expected to be one of the main promotion contenders, and asked who could be their big rivals this season, McGee said: “It’s hard to say.

“You’d look at Hullensians as they came down with us, and the likes of Wheatley Hills and Wetherby had big wins at the weekend.

“But you don’t know how everyone has fared over lockdown, some sides might have come out of it stronger, some weaker.

“We’ve just got to do our own thing, and the league table will soon start to tell its own story.

“We certainly don’t fear anyone in this division though.”

Baildon are not expected to be promotion contenders, but they more than held their own at Keighley on Saturday.

Analysing the game, McGee said: “I told the lads to try and play the game, not the occasion, but maybe it did get to them a bit, with it being our first match back, and one against our local rivals, which is always tough.

“I thought Baildon played really well and tested us, but we’re the ones who’ve come away with the win, which is what you’re after from the first game of the season.”