KEIGHLEY Cougars have put themselves in a good position to qualify for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup quarter finals after thumping Dewsbury 35-6 yesterday afternoon.

The Rams and the Cougars are in Group 2 alongside Bradford, and they faced off yesterday on the competition’s opening day, while Bulls were playing their pre-season friendly against Leeds at Odsal.

And the Bradford District duo enjoyed superb Sunday against Dewsbury and the Rhinos respectively, with Keighley’s win arguably even more eye-catching than Bulls’.

Dewsbury won Betfred League 1 last year, while Cougars, who have retained Ellis Robson as skipper, dropped into the third tier after relegation from the Championship on the final day of the 2023 season.

But based on yesterday’s encounter, the two sides could soon be swapping places again, as a brace from Charlie Graham, alongside efforts from Ben Dean, Brandon Pickersgill, Lachlan Lanksey and new vice-captain Aaron Brown steered Matt Foster’s Keighley side to a comfortable victory at Cougar Park.

Dewsbury opened the scoring through a try from former Bradford Bulls man Matt Garside, which was converted by Paul Sykes, but the Cougars soon took command of the game.

Dean sliced through the Dewsbury defence to score Keighley’s first try, with Jack Miller adding the extras to draw the scores level.

That started a period of sustained Keighley pressure, which eventually saw them gain the lead as Brandon Pickersgill scored.

They did not have to wait long for their third try either, as Lachlan Lanksey crashed over from short range and Miller knocked over the conversion.

Just as the hooter sounded, Miller popped a cheeky field goal through the posts to make it 17-6 at the break to the hosts.

The fourth Cougars try came courtesy of Charlie Graham, as he sneaked over the line to score despite the best efforts of four Dewsbury defenders.

Miller added his third conversion of the afternoon to increase the home side’s lead to 23-6.

Dewsbury half-back Sykes was then sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, and Keighley made the most of their numerical advantage.

Graham dived over in acrobatic fashion for his second try of the afternoon, with Miller splitting the uprights superbly with the touchline conversion to make it 29-6 to the Cougars.

There was one final hurrah for the Cougars, as new signing Brown scored their sixth try of the day late on.

Miller added his fifth conversion to round off a superb day for the Cougars, who know a home win over Bulls on Sunday, February 18 will send them into the last eight of the competition.

The best runner-up in the seven groups will also make the quarter finals, so hope might not be lost for Keighley even if they are beaten in that derby encounter.

Cougars are not in action this weekend, so will instead be watching closely as Dewsbury host Bradford on Sunday, in what is the Rams’ second and final 1895 Cup group game.