Workington Town 24 Keighley Cougars 6

A first-half hat-trick from speedster Elliot Hall was the highlight of a ruthless team performance from Chris Thorman’s Workington Town to see off Keighley Cougars 24-6.

After back-to-back Challenge Cup weekends, it was finally time for Town to get their League 1 campaign under way and they did so in some style, with Hall’s haul made possible by a disciplined display from the home side.

Unshakeable and fearless in defending their own line and clinical when opportunities presented themselves to attack at the other end, Town taught the visitors a lesson in finishing as they cruised into a 14-0 lead at half time and picked up where they left off to kill the game early after the restart.

Keighley had been camped within 10 metres of Town’s line during the opening stages of the contest but the hosts were happy to keep them at arm’s length before a rare early foray forward for Town saw them break the deadlock.

Elliot Hall tucked in a short pass out wide and scampered in in the corner to sore against the run of play. Carl Forber’s conversion was unsuccessful but Town led 4-0 after 18 minutes.

That sparked the hosts into life and, although the Cougars looked to mount another string of attacks, they were sliced apart when Hall cut out a pass and turned on the jets to race 80 metres straight down the right flank and in for his second try of the day. Forber’s kick was good this time and Town were 10-0 up after 28 minutes.

Town had been much better since they got on the scoreboard, and they struck again before half time, with Elliott Miller bundling his way forward and slipping the ball to Hall, who wasn’t going to miss out on claiming a first-half hat-trick. Forber missed the kick again but Town went into the break 14-0 up.

They made a perfect start to the second half with Jamie Doran’s kick-off being caught by the wind and, as the Cougars man was caught under the ball, Alex Young produced a tremendous leap to recover it.

They took advantage immediately, with Marcus O’Brien crashing over less than a minute into the half to stretch their lead to 18-0. Forber added the extras to make that 20-0.

They kept their foot on the gas and it was 24-0 three minutes later as O’Brien continued pulling the strings to give Hall the opportunity to show quick feet and dive in in the corner for his fourth try and Town’s fifth. Forber’s kick missed the target.

Keighley huffed and puffed but had very little penetration in the face of a Town defence which looked determined to keep a clean sheet.

It wasn’t to be as, with the game petering out in the final minutes, a half-hearted Keighley attack saw Jack Coventry score a try converted by Jack Miller.

But Town were untroubled after that and saw the game out expertly to make it three home wins in a row and collect their first victory of the league campaign.