Keighley Cougars 32, Workington 12

Jason Demetriou and his players sank a few beers in the Cougar Park clubhouse last night – and why not?

They woke up this morning as winners after yesterday’s stirring success clinched promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Bouncing back from last year’s relegation was never going to be easy.

This has been Demetriou’s first foray into coaching after a long and successful playing career in Super League.

But the 35-year-old Aus-tralian has acclimatised to the new role in style, blending his squad together into a well-motivated force who proved far too strong for Workington.

A comprehensive six-try victory in this Champion-ship One decider to see who is promoted with title winners Swinton left Demetriou beaming with pride.

Workington had won at Cougar Park a fortnight ago in the play-offs, yet Deme-triou’s men upped their game against Rochdale to book their trip to Warrington and took it to another level again yesterday.

“It’s hard to put achievement this into words,” said Demetriou after a typically masterful display which earned him the man-of-the-match honours.

“Coming from Super League, I’ve played in a lot of big games but this is as big as anything in my career because I knew what it meant to these guys, to this town and to the supporters.”

It would be harsh on Workington to say the game was effectively over at half-time. But it would not be too far wide of the mark.

Demetriou again dovetailed superbly well with scrum half Jy-mel Coleman to help the Cougars – backed by a noisy and vociferous following, including the reserve team squad dressed as Thunderbirds – into a 22-0 interval lead.

The Cougars were dominant up front and soon began asking questions to which Workington had no answers.

As against Rochdale, Keighley won the physical battle up front, and they led in the fifth minute when Danny Lawton grounded a short kick from Demetriou.

The Cumbrians spurned two chances through poor handling and Keighley struck again when skipper James Feather went over from acting half.

Five minutes later, prop Brendan Rawlins went over and, in the 32nd minute, came try number four when Gavin Duffy sent over second row Ollie Pursglove.

The second half was a largely nondescript affair but it came to life in the 64th minute when Jarrad Stack found the supporting Scott Kaighan with a neat inside pass and the scrum half burst clear to score, despite Duffy’s admirable attempt.

Darren Holt added the extras but the response from Keighley was as impressive as it was immediate.

Ryan Smith found Coleman to his left and he threw a pass out to centre Jake Norming-ton, who bustled his way to the line.

Neil Frazer escaped down the right flank to pull back a second try for Workington late on but Normington soon grabbed his second and the Cougars’ sixth.

Whether Demetriou will play on next season remains to be seen, but he added pointedly: “With everything going on behind the scenes this club is set to take off and I’m so proud of all the players.”