A successful two-game pre-season paid dividends for Keighley, who survived a late comeback in their Counties One Yorkshire opener to win 34-31 at Hullensians.

It was never going to be an easy start to the league season for Keighley, and so it proved.

Hullensians started brightly, putting the visitors’ defence to the test.

But weathering the early pressure, Keighley went through the phases and gained a well-taken try for hooker Ross Lacey, converted by Alex Brown.

Soon after, Brown landed a long distance penalty to increase the Keighley lead.

With their tails up and playing some good rugby, outside half Brown found winger Alan Ebbrell coming through the middle at pace.

He drew the last defender before putting Alfie Seeley over in the corner, with Brown adding the difficult conversion.

Towards the end of the half some good work in the middle from Hullensians led to a try for their winger Harrison Holmes.

Just before the break, the Hullensians hooker Ranulph Whitehouse was red carded for foul play, and Brown finished the first-half scoring with a further penalty.

Playing against 14 men and holding a 15-point lead, Keighley were confident of a win, especially after a break through the centre by Sean Kelly and a try for Jack Wild.

However, Hullensians were determined not to give up and through sheer hard work from the forwards and some lovely skills in the backs, centre Ben Stutely broke free to score, converted by captain Sam Furbank.

At this point of the game, the Hullensians outside half Josh Abbott began to control the game, and with his centres Furbank and Stutely understanding his runs, Keighley were finding it difficult to close them down and plug the gaps in the wide open spaces.

This led to a second try for Stutely, once again converted by Furbank.

The Keighley forwards stopped the rot, with some excellent scrummaging against a bigger pack.

Some strong runs from the second row pair of James Bell and Ed Keighley took the visitors deep into opposition territory, with the phase play completed by a drive over from centre Kelly, who unfortunately dislocated his shoulder in the process.

Despite that setback, Brown added the conversion to increase his side’s lead.

Hullensians once again raised their game and a really well worked move in midfield gave winger Owen Millward a run in to score in the corner.

A little later, a promising Keighley attack was thwarted with an illegal shoulder charge that led to a further red card.

Playing against 13 men did not appear to make much difference to Keighley, as Hullensians were determined to give it all they had.

They successfully kept Keighley on the back foot and good play in the backs gave outstanding outside half Abbott a well-deserved try between the posts, converted by Furbank.

With a few minutes remaining and a three-point lead Keighley managed to run the clock down to earn a bonus point victory, their promotion hunt starting in the right way.