Keighley Cougars’ hopes of returning to the Betfred Championship at the first attempt were boosted by a comprehensive 56-12 win over Cornwall on the opening day of the new League 1 season.

The game was quickly over as a contest, with Keighley making a lightning start, meaning a sluggish Cornwall side found themselves 22-0 down inside the opening 15 minutes.

The visitors certainly had some defence, after sitting out of the 1895 Cup due to logistical and financial reasons, as well as exiting the Challenge Cup at the first hurdle.

But to the Penryn-side’s credit, they grew into the game as it progressed, and the final scoreline perhaps reflected slightly harshly upon them.

Captain Ellis Robson got the ball rolling for Keighley after just four minutes yesterday, when he burst on to Jack Miller’s flat ball to score.

Miller subsequently bagged the first of his eight conversions on the afternoon.

Keighley News: Ellis Robson (centre) and Jack Miller (right) caused problems for Cornwall all afternoon yesterday.Ellis Robson (centre) and Jack Miller (right) caused problems for Cornwall all afternoon yesterday. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

Winger Billy Walkley was next in on the act when he snuck home in the corner, despite the attentions of Cornish winger Harry Aaronson, a former Cougars player.

Miller failed to land the extras, but that hardly seemed to matter, as Cornwall were the architects of their own downfall in the early stages.

They were constantly getting on the wrong side of referee Andy Sweet and a six-again resulted in Keighley’s third try.

Dan Parker went in near the posts to score that one, with Miller converting, and with the game not even 15 minutes old, Cornwall suffered a double blow.

Away skipper Adam Rusling suffered a nasty leg gash in the build-up to another Keighley try, with the former Hull Kingston Rovers man needing stiches and a trip to Airedale Hospital.

The try itself was scored by Robson, who grabbed his second of the game by running on to the ball and touching down on the last tackle, after two kicks through.

Miller landed the additional points, not only putting Keighley into a hefty lead but also taking him to 1,000 career points.

Determined not to suffer a blowout, Cornwall dug in and scored next through winger George Mitchell.

He picked up Cameron Brown’s kick, which bounced off a home defender, to score his club’s first try of the new league season.

Brown nailed a fine conversion from the sideline to improve Cornwall’s tally.

The Cornwall kicker’s afternoon soon took a turn for the worse however, as he was sent to the sin bin by Sweet, who had grown tired of repeat offences.

However, a clear demonstration of Cornwall’s improvement as the game progressed meant that just one Keighley try, scored by Oscar Thomas, was added while the hosts had a numerical advantage. 

Miller missed the extras too, meaning Keighley’s lead at half-time was only 26-6, slightly surprising given their roaring start.

At the start of the second half, the Cougars found another gear though, and put the game beyond Cornwall with three tries in quick succession.

Adam Ryder got in on the act to score, before Robson completed his first professional hat trick.

Keighley News: Adam Ryder flies over in the corner to increase Keighley's lead early in the second half.Adam Ryder flies over in the corner to increase Keighley's lead early in the second half. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

Brandon Pickersgill, who was always a threat, then chimed into the three-quarter line to score.

And with Miller landing all three conversions on offer in that Cougars burst, they seemed set to run riot again.

But that threat was once again bravely, and impressively, quelled by Cornwall.

It was Mike Abbott’s men who scored next with arguably the try of the game, as a wonderful flowing move was finished of acrobatically by Aaronson.

But Cougars quickly hit back, with Alex Bishop crossing the line with 15 minutes to go to score a try on debut.

Miller added the extras to bring up the Keighley half-century, but the game petered out thereafter.

The hosts did have one more in them through, as the outstanding Pickersgill scored under the sticks after the hosts chanced their arm on the final play. 

Miller’s successful conversion garnished the scoreline, with Keighley heading the embryonic table on points difference from Oldham, Hunslet and Rochdale as it stands.

The Roughyeds dished out a bruising 48-10 defeat to their hosts, Workington Town, with the Cumbrians unlikely to find things much easier when they travel to Cougar Park to face Keighley this coming Sunday.