DEWSBURY RAMS were made to pay for a poor first half as they fell short of an unlikely fightback to eventually lose 40-20 at Cougar Park.
Richie Barnett’s hat-trick of tries helped Keighley end a run of three straight defeats with a win over the Rams.
Cougars were in fine form in the first half and raced into a 24 point lead after tries from Barnett (two), Luke Haigh and Ross Peltier. They then held off a Rams comeback in the second half.
Keighley opened the scoring on the back of a penalty which gave Danny Jones and Paul Handforth the chance to combine and feed Barnett in at the corner.
Jones then adding the extras to put the home side six points up.
The Cougars quickly extended their lead after Brendon Rawlins spun out of a tackle and then found Haigh on his shoulder, who crossed under the sticks. Jones converted.
March was next to provide a moment of magic. The evergreen half-back stepped inside two defenders and turned on the afterburners before producing a looping pass to play in Barnett for his second on the right edge.
The home side were now well on top and soon went over for their fourth.
Peltier was set free close to the line by Handforth, with the bulldozing prop bouncing off one defender and touching down. Jones tagged on the two and then kicked a penalty goal to make it 24-0.
However, a knock on from the kick-off then gave Dewsbury their first chance just before half-time.
They duly took it with Anthony Thackeray and Kieran Hyde swiftly shifting the ball out wide for Greg Scott to squeeze in on the right wing, with Tom Hemingway goaling to give them hope at the break.
The Rams then took that attacking momentum through into the second half. But Hemingway tried to force a pass, which was smartly intercepted by Barnett who produced a lung busting run to cross.
That setback did not deter the visitors, though, and they quickly crossed for two tries in quick succession to keep any slim chances alive.
Firstly, they trapped Barnett in goal, which gave Tommy Gallagher the platform to power his way over the line from close range.
Three minutes later they were in again, with Hyde touching down on the back of Wayne Godwin and Thackeray’s combination.
But any chance of a miraculous fightback were thwarted when Paul White crossed for Cougars in the corner.
Jones then booted over a penalty goal late on to secure to further secure the result for the home side.
Dewsbury managed to secure some pride late on, though, with Stephen Nash crossing for a try which Hemingway converted.
But Keighley had the last laugh after Luke Haigh scoring on the hooter, with Jones converting to end the match.