Battling amateurs Fryston Warriors lost 50-32 to League One Keighley Cougars in an incident-packed Ladbrokes Challenge Cup third round tie at Featherstone’s Big Fellas Stadium on Saturday.
Defending Pennine League champions Fryston gave a brave display and looked capable of pulling off an upset when the sides were locked at 22-22 in the second-half but Keighley then scored three tries in five minutes to snatch a match-winnning lead.
The Warriors made a shaky start when they conceded a converted try by James Feather after five minutes but they levelled five minutes later when Wayne McHugh went over for the first of his two first-half tries and Andy Speake converted.
Keighley regained the lead with Josh Tonks’s 14th minute touchdown and Matty Beharrell’s second goal but the Warriors quickly bounced back again.
Andy Matthews crossed in the corner and three minutes later McHugh pounced on a grubber kick from former Keighley captain Paul Handforth to score his second and Speake added the goal to put them 16-12 up.
The Cougars levelled shortly before half-time when Danny Lawton grabbed their third try.
Keighley went back in front five minutes into the second-half when Sean Kelly weaved his way over and Beharrell goaled.
However, it was all squared again two minutes later when Steve Scott powered over from close range and Speake added the extras.
A 55th minute flare up then saw Fryston’s Speake and Keighley’s Emmerson Whittel sent off and Adam Rothwell (Fryston) and Davey Dixon (Keighlky) sin-binned. The game then swung firmly Keighley’s way when they scored three unanswered converted tries by Adam Ryder, Kelly, with his second, and Brendon Rawlins.
Fryston cut the gap to 40-28 when Sean Gee scored from a grubber kick by Aaron Dobek who converted but the Cougars put the game beyond their reach when Ryder broke down the left to set up a 68th minute touchdown for Andy Gabriel.
Jack Lee’s 72nd minute try narrowed the deficit to 12 points but Keighley had the last word two minutes from time when Gabriel paved the way for Ritchie Hawkyard to cross and Beharrell goaled.
Fryston Warriors: Strong, Rothwell, McHugh, Gee, Matthews, Handforth, Speake, Fisher, Lee, Land, Scott, Smith, Dobek. Subs: Cogan, Withington, Kear, Jones.
Keighley Cougars: Hawkyard, Dixon, Lawton, Ryder, Gabriel, Milner, Beharrell, Law, Feather, Rawlins, Lynam, Tonks, Emmett. Subs: Whittel, Welsh, Kelly, Nicholson.
Referee: John McMullen (Wigan).