It was a 14-try rout for the Cougars yesterday, as they coped easily with a chilly day up in the Toon to dismantle Newcastle Thunder 82-6 in Betfred League 1.

There was only ever going to be one winner in this clash between the rock-bottom hosts and the unbeaten visitors and it didn’t take long for the scoreboard to start ticking.

Ben Dean, making his League 1 debut like teammates Junior Nuu and Mitch Revell, linked up with Mark Ioane, who sent Ellis Robson over for the opening Cougars try.

Jack Miller added the extras, with the first of his 13 successful conversions on the afternoon.

Robson was then provider as a lovely break from deep sent Aaron Brown under the sticks from 30 metres out.

Just minutes later, a Lewis Hatton offload was fumbled by a Thunder defender and Dean picked up and grounded the ball over the line from close range.

Josh Lynam was next to cross the whitewash, marking his 150th Keighley Cougars appearance with a rare try.

Keighley News: Josh Lynam burrows over to score a try for Cougars on a milestone appearance for the club.Josh Lynam burrows over to score a try for Cougars on a milestone appearance for the club. (Image: Ben Challis.)

Neat work on the left edge sent winger Billy Walkley over for the first of a three-try haul, as he continues to impress with his work rate and scoring ability since joining in the off season.

Robson then completed his brace on 31 minutes, as did stand-off Dean shortly afterwards.

Right on the stroke of half-time, Adam Ryder notched his first points of the day out wide on the wing.

But faced with a tricky conversion from the touchline, Miller produced his only miss of the day.

The Cougars continued to keep the scoreboard ticking after half-time as Jordan Schofield pounced for a close-range try on 45 minutes.

Thunder showed some fight a few moments later, winning the ball back from a short kick-off and going in at the corner for their only try of the day through Evan Lawther.

Tyler Hepple added the extras from out wide, but that was the end of the scoring from Newcastle.

Hatton almost responded instantly to that Thunder try, as he looked to have grounded the ball over the line, only for the unsighted referee to call a ball steal.

But on the very next play, Schofield went over for his second of the afternoon to immediately ease any sense of injustice.

Just minutes later, Dean on the right edge with lovely hands found Brandon Pickersgill out back, who produced a lovely ball out to Ryder, allowing the centre to complete his brace.

The Cougars were not finished yet and after Junior Sa’u isolated his opposite defender, he found Walkley, who notched his second of the afternoon.

Next up, Matt Bailey, in his testimonial year, found the try line on his return to the side, as he crashed over from 10 metres out.

Keighley News: Matt Bailey slips over to score yesterday, on what was a rare first-team appearance for the veteran.Matt Bailey slips over to score yesterday, on what was a rare first-team appearance for the veteran. (Image: Ben Challis Sports Photography.)

Sa’u and Walkley combined to complete the rout, the former feeding the latter so he could score his hat-trick try.

Cougars are likely to face a tougher test on Sunday, when they travel to a Rochdale Hornets side who are looking for a fourth league win in their opening seven games.

Oldham, who have played a game less than Keighley, could regain top spot if they win at the Midlands Hurricanes the day before.

But a win at Rochdale for Cougars would maintain the two-point gap they currently have at the summit.

Note: For more sports photography by Ben Challis, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/benchallissport/