Keighley Cougars ended a run of five successive defeats with a 26-18 victory over Whitehaven on a special annual fixture for the club.

The welcome victory saw Cougars move up to ninth in the Betfred Championship table on 12 points, for their sixth victory out of the opening 16 games of the season.

Tries from Alix Stephenson, Mo Agoro, Lloyd Roby, Ellis Robson and Billy Gaylor secured the points for Cougars in their annual Pride fixture.

Kieran Rush missed the clash due to a hamstring injury, while Joe Hird started at loose forward for the Cougars.

It was first blood to the hosts on 15 minutes after Alix Stephenson went over for a try. Harvey Spence missed the subsequent conversion.

Cougars extended their lead five minutes later through an Agoro try as he crossed in the corner. The conversion was again missed by Spence as his side had to settle for an 8-0 early advantage.

With 12 minutes to go before the interval, Cougars were again on the attack. A deft kick from Brad Walker is almost touched down by Ellis Robson, but it was thwarted. But from a resultant set of six Lloyd Roby went over for another Cougars try to make it 12-0. Spence made it three missed conversions.

But Whitehaven had their own scoring moment seven minutes before half-time when David Eccleston scored a try, which was converted to make it 12-6.

Cougars had a chance to extend their lead but Walker failed to find touch, making it 12-6 at half-time.

Following a heavy downpour at half-time, Cougars extended their lead after the interval.

The hosts won a penalty which Walker, who took over kicking duties, scored to make it 14-6.

Cougars continued their scoring spree when a grubber kick from Walker was grabbed by Ellis Robson touch down. Walker missed the extras.

It was cruise control for Cougars as they were 20-6 up going into the final 20 minutes of the contest.

The heavy rain returned with 12 minutes to go as Whitehaven made it a grandstand finish with Ryan King grabbed a converted try for 20-12.

Cougars secured another penalty in increasingly wet conditions. Walker found touch as the ball was booted out of the ground. Robson went close but his effort fell short. But Gaylor went over for a late try, which Walker converted to make it 26-12.

Josh Rourke went over with a try for Whitehaven with four minutes left to make it 26-18, which set up a tense finish, but a late Cougars penalty on the hooter saw Walker slot 2 extra points to make it 28-18.

By Mark Stanford