Yorkshire One: Hullensians 23 Keighley 27

KEIGHLEY got back to winning ways with a well-earned victory, showing a refreshing new spirit to end a four-game losing streak.

Their performance got better as the game progressed, while the appearance of former Cougars player Sean Kelly added aggression and power in the centre alongside the returning Alfie Seeley, who was back after a shoulder injury.

Lucas Uren relished his return to scrum half and the back division as a whole looked much more balanced than of late.

A solid front row, including a promising debut by hooker Joe Kaye, provided a firm foundation up front where man of the match Leigh Sugden turned in a vintage performance at No 8.

He was ably assisted by second row James Cunliffe and flanker Shaun Minikin, the latter relishing the space in his preferred role after a long spell at hooker.

Things did not start well for Keighley as they incurred a succession of penalties, handing territorial advantage to the home side.

After ten minutes a quickly-taken tapped penalty caught them unawares, paving the way for wingman Josh Langford to touch down with full back Clayton McCloud converting.

Keighley quickly struck back as Seeley and wingman Joe Copperwaite carved an opening, leading to a try by Minikin which Alex Brown converted.

A penalty goal by McCloud re-instated the home lead and, before the break, good inter-passing brought a try for wingman Rob Harding, again converted by McCloud.

Keighley began the second half strongly and a good build-up by the forwards brought a close-range score by Sugden.

There was a new confidence in the visitors' ranks. A sparkling run by full back Jake Duxbury took play into Hullensians territory and a clean line-out take by Cunliffe set up a maul, leading to a second try for Sugden to tie the scores.

Keighley’s pack increasingly dictated affairs and a break by Seeley led to them taking the lead through a Brown penalty. By this stage, they were well on top.

Some skilful work again by Seeley opened the way for replacement winger Kyle Akrigg to fend off several attempted tackles on a touchline dash to the line for an excellent bonus-winning try, which was expertly converted by Brown.

Hullensians fought back bravely but their only reward was a further penalty goal by McCloud.

One swallow certainly does not make a summer, but this was a refreshing and well-earned victory against, it must be said, somewhat modest opposition.

Saturday will be a much better indication of the side’s progress when they face in-form Moortown, with their handful of southern hemisphere imports, at Utley.