NOT even the remnants of Storm Brian could prevent Keighley from christening their artificial grass pitch in style.

They ran in eight tries, five of which were converted by fly half Alex Brown, against understrength North Ribblesdale to win 50-7 in a one-sided Yorkshire Division One derby.

The hosts did not even know they would be able to use their new lush green strip until Thursday lunchtime – yet it was just as well as a proper grass pitch would have been getting very muddy by the end of a contest where the weather worsened as the game went on.

Head coach Dave Duxbury explained: "The pitch was assessed on Tuesday for bounce etc and it can sometimes take up to two weeks for the certificate of usage to come through.

"However, I had heard that Billingham and Preston Grasshoppers' had come through in 48 hours, so I had a sneaking suspicion that we might be able to play on it and permission came through on Thursday lunchtime."

With fresh lines on the springy artificial grass, which was completely surrounded by a white fence around which was a tarmac path, the ground looked a picture and Keighley soon set about their business.

Playing at a high tempo, they created space on the right for winger Jack Atkinson to score the first try of his hat-trick – and his second followed in the 19th minute, 11 minutes after another promising raid down the right had ended in a penalty for the hosts.

Left winger Joe Copperwaite also got in on the act in the 29th minute with a try on a plate after good work by Dan Snowden and Adam Horsfall.

Brown converted the middle try superbly into a wind that constantly seemed to be shifting and the visitors had featured little in a half in which they trailed 17-0.

Their fly half David Fox's kick-off failed to go ten metres at the start of the second half but they recovered from that bad beginning to score a try by centre Liam Wallbank, which Fox converted.

It was not long before Keighley were back in the ascendancy, however, hooker Shaun Minikin's break down the left flank ending with a pass that went to no-one.

But the bonus-point try came on the hour, replacement Andy Heys barging his way over for Brown to convert.

Ribb tired in the last 20 minutes, often falling off tackles and sometimes falling to the floor.

Keighley cashed in with tries for replacement back Alan Ebbrell in the 69th minute, after a great run by lock James Fox, Atkinson's hat-trick effort in the 77th minute, Copperwaite's second in the 80th minute and full back Alfie Seeley's try with the last play of the match a minute into stoppage time.

No-one seemed to appreciate the new surface better than the dancing master Seeley, closely followed by Atkinson and Copperwaite, but Duxbury said: "It is not a surface that will just be good for the backs.

"It is good for the forwards too and challenges all of the players to be more creative and up their skill-sets."

Duxbury added: "It was a better performance but are there still things to work on?

"Yes, as we dropped the ball five times in the first 20 minutes – but we can only beat what is in front of us as against Bradford Salem and I know that North Ribblesdale were missing players."

While Keighley, in what has been an erratic start to their campaign, climbed a place to ninth, Ribb remain bottom with seven defeats in seven matches and just a single point on the board.

However, veteran front-rower John Thwaite is not completely despondent.

He said: "We were missing two players at Sam Boatwright's wedding blessing and we were missing five players the week before at James Dugdale's wedding.

"We have a players' meeting coming up. It is not a crisis meeting, it is just a meeting to see whether we are heading in the right direction and to see if anything needs changing.

"But we are a young side, the spirit is good and I have known the spirit having been worse when we have been winning."