Whitehaven claimed a comfortable 36-4 victory over Keighley Cougars in their League One Super 8s clash at the Recreation Ground.

Much of the damage was done in the first half as Haven moved into a 20-0 lead at the interval.

Keighley did eventually get on the score board in the second half although, by that stage, the result of the encounter was already well beyond doubt with Carl Forster’s men bouncing back from their defeat against Doncaster in style.

Haven fans were given a welcome boost when they looked at the starting line-ups with influential player-coach Forster, back from a one-match suspension, and Papua New Guinea star Dion Aiye in their 13. Elliot Miller and Jordan Burns were also involved but Glenn Riley missed out.

For the visitors, unbeaten in their last five matches and looking to build on their impressive draw with leaders Toronto Wolfpack last time out, Josh Tonks returned from a five-match suspension.

Within a matter of seconds, Haven were awarded the first penalty, although they were unable to take advantage.

The Cougars replied with an early spell of pressure but the Whitehaven defence stood up to the challenge to keep the game scoreless.

But the west Cumbrians took the lead on the eighth minute with Paul Crook converting a relatively straight forward penalty.

Winger Dave Thompson became the first player to cross the whitewash in the game, although his try for Haven was ruled out for obstruction with 17 minutes on the clock.

After a stoppage in play, Forster and Karl Olstrom worked hard to earn the Cumbrians a good position and that led to a weaving run from Aiye which saw him stopped just short of the line.

But that only delayed a Haven try for a few seconds with Jessie Joe Parker diving over the whitewash on the 23rd minute. Crook missed with the conversion but Haven led 6-0.

Crook made a mistake with his next penalty as he gave his side an 8-0 advantage as the match ticked past the half-hour mark.

Forster’s men then scored their second try when Connor Holliday broke through the middle and, this time, Crook was successful with his conversion.

With the Cumbrians threatening to run away with a comfortable victory, Keighley were desperate to get on the board before the half-time interval.

They threatened the Whitehaven try line again but the Recre outfit’s defence held strong.

Forster had wanted his team to improve their attacking play after their loss to Doncaster last time out and a quite brilliant run from Thompson, which took him virtually the full-length of the pitch, would have delighted the player-coach.

Crook tacked on the extras from the conversion to virtually put the result beyond doubt as Haven moved into an impressive 20-0 lead at end of a hugely satisfactory half from a Cumbrian perspective.

Keighley Cougars’ fortune certainly didn’t look like it would improve when they kicked a penalty straight behind the Whitehaven try line in the early stages of the second period.

Seven minutes after the restart, player-coach Forster once again led by example as he drove over the try line to move Haven further ahead, with Crook taking his own tally to 10 points with the conversion.

The Cougars knew they were only playing for pride as their five-match unbeaten run came to an end.

Keighley did find the Whitehaven try line on the 54th minute. However, the try was ruled out for a forward pass after a dangerous run by Andy Gabriel.

The Cougars did finally get on the scoreboard shortly before the hour-mark when Gabriel scored. Matty Beharrell missed with the conversion.

James Tilley was held-up on the line with 64 minutes on the clock, but that only delayed the inevitable with Jordan Burns finding the corner. Crook dragged wide with a tough conversion.

Olstrom put more gloss on the scoreline with another try which was converted by Crook.

A couple of rather unnecessary late flash-points passed without any real action being taken by referee Greg Dolan.

But, in truth, there was little to play for in the final stages as Haven saw the win out with ease.