KEIGHLEY skipper Alex Brown has given their new artificial pitch the thumbs up.

On the back of a 50-7 victory over North Ribblesdale in Yorkshire Division One, when the surface was used for the first time in a match, he said: "Everyone enjoyed it, but we are still waiting to find out what it is like to play on when it isn't raining.

"It was raining at Preston Grasshoppers for our pre-season friendly, it was raining when we trained on our pitch for the first time last Thursday and it was raining on Saturday!

"I have been practising low-trajectory kicks because of the weather, expecting it to skid like it would do on a rainy day in September on proper grass, but the bounce on our artificial pitch is very true.

"It is springy, everything looks new and I think it will be something that our opponents are looking forward to playing on too – particularly if they haven't experienced it before."

Brown added: "Our back three (Alfie Seeley, Jack Atkinson, Joe Copperwaite) certainly enjoyed it, but that was true of the whole side.

"We started at a high tempo and were able to put in what was almost a complete performance."

Of course, Keighley will only be playing matches at Rose Cottage every fortnight, but just to make sure that they don't get too used to not playing on real grass, Brown explained: "I think the idea is to train once a week on our artificial pitch and once a week on our natural grass second-team pitch, where we have played our pre-season friendlies and our previous home league matches."

Brown added: "No-one was complaining about any abrasions afterwards on Saturday, but I did feel my calf after 70 minutes."

On Saturday, Keighley, who have climbed a place to ninth, are at Wheatley Hills, who are three places and eight points worse off.

Brown said: "They will be physical and abrasive and will have a big pack.

"We will need to play at a high tempo and hopefully put them to the sword later on."