Keighley Cougars brought an end to their disappointing five-match losing streak with a resounding 26-18 victory over Whitehaven in a special annual fixture for the club. The much-needed triumph propelled the Cougars to ninth place in the Betfred Championship table, earning them 12 points from six victories in the opening 16 games of the season.

The match, which coincided with the club’s annual Pride event, witnessed an outstanding performance from the Cougars. Alix Stephenson, Mo Agoro, Lloyd Roby, Ellis Robson, and Billy Gaylor all scored tries, ensuring the team secured a well-deserved win.

However, the Cougars had to face the absence of Kieran Rush, who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. In his place, Joe Hird started as the loose forward for the team.

The hosts wasted no time in asserting their dominance, as Alix Stephenson crossed the try line in the 15th minute, providing an early lead. Unfortunately, Harvey Spence failed to convert the try, leaving the score at 4-0 in favour of the Cougars.

Expanding their advantage, Keighley Cougars struck again just five minutes later when Mo Agoro touched down in the corner, increasing the lead to 8-0. Once more, Spence was unable to convert the try, leaving the Cougars to settle for the eight-point advantage.

With 12 minutes remaining in the first half, the Cougars launched another attack. A cleverly executed kick from Brad Walker almost resulted in Ellis Robson scoring, but it was denied. However, during the ensuing set of six, Lloyd Roby crossed the try line, extending the Cougars’ lead to 12-0. Spence’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, marking his third missed conversion of the match.

Nevertheless, Whitehaven managed to score their own try seven minutes before halftime when David Eccleston successfully found the try line. The conversion was completed, narrowing the gap to 12-6.

Keighley Cougars had an opportunity to further extend their lead, but Brad Walker’s failure to find touch kept the score at 12-6 as the teams entered halftime.

After the break, amidst heavy rainfall, the Cougars continued their offensive onslaught. They were awarded a penalty, which Walker confidently converted, increasing their lead to 14-6.

Maintaining their momentum, the hosts struck again when a well-placed grubber kick from Walker was seized by Ellis Robson, who touched down for another try. Walker, however, failed to add the extra points, leaving the score at 18-6.

With a comfortable 20-6 lead in the final 20 minutes of the match, the Cougars seemed to be cruising towards victory. However, a determined Whitehaven side refused to back down. Ryan King’s converted try in the 68th minute brought them within striking distance at 20-12.

As the rain poured down heavily once again with 12 minutes remaining, Keighley Cougars earned a crucial penalty. Walker kicked the ball out of play, impressively finding touch despite the challenging conditions. Robson came close to scoring, but his effort fell short. Nevertheless, Gaylor managed to secure a late try, expertly converted by Walker, resulting in a scoreline of 26-12.

In a thrilling climax, Whitehaven’s Josh Rourke scored a try with four minutes left on the clock, closing the gap to 26-18 and setting the stage for an intense finish. However, a penalty awarded to the Cougars on the final hooter provided Walker with the opportunity to score two additional points through a successful kick, securing a final score of 28-18 in favor of Keighley Cougars.