Keighley Cougars 27-18 Barrow Raiders by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar) in association with A1 Stairlifts.
The Cougars made it three wins in three without Paul March and five victories on the bounce with a hard fought victory against the Barrow Raiders.
In a topsy-turvy encounter in the pouring rain at Cougar Park, a quick start and a strong finish guided Keighley to yet another victory under Paul Royston’s temporary stewardship.
A twelve point lead in the opening ten minutes set the tone for this ground out triumph which started when a lovely kick by Danny Jones on the last dropped beautifully to Paul White to walk it home in the corner.
Four minutes later, the Cougars were camped out on the Raiders line and made the breakthrough after Paul Handforth’s grubber fell behind Jason Walton to be touched down by Danny Lawton.
The impact of the back line throughout the game was applauded by loose forward Ben Sagar following the game: “The forwards put a lot of effort in today but the backs followed it up and at times it doesn’t go to plan, but today it went smoothly.”
A dull twenty minute period followed before on the last tackle of a Raiders set, Dan Toal found a gap and raced through to roll over the line.
However, the Raiders trailed by seven come the half time interval when following a post hooter Tiger penalty into touch, Jones put a one pointer between the sticks.
The second half started scrappily and went nineteen minutes before the first score when after a Ryan Shaw break, Dominic Speakman kicked the ball into a ridiculously open space for Dalton Grant to pick up and cross next to the posts.
The Cougars then blew Barrow away with another two try in four minute spell which began when after a failed interception, Tiger used the free play to send Richie Barnett racing over in the corner.
The rocketman was halted in the corner on the line by a fantastic last ditch Niall Evalds tackle, Buster sent the play out of the tackle into Sean Hesketh who powered over to open up an eleven point lead for the home side.
Speaking following the game, Performance Director Paul Royston told the media: “I think we made hard work of it to some extent but we’ve got to give them credit as they’re a much improved outfit and they came here with a definite game plan but our attitude and desire to get the victory was fantastic.”
A nervy finish was on the cards when Toal grabbed his second of the afternoon after he took the play the ball and burst through to touch down under the posts.
But, all those nerves were settled when from the Cougars next attack, Lawton joined Toal on a brace of tries when he raced across the defensive line and threw a dummy to race in for the final score of the afternoon.
Yorkshire Times Man of the Match – James Haley – On a cold and wet afternoon in which a number of the Cougars backline could have claimed man of the match, Haley’s unsung hero showing in which he made a number of crucial tackles in defence before turning it into a lead from the front attack along with centre partner, Danny Lawton.
COUGARS: Craven, Barnett, Lawton, Haley, White, Jones, Handforth, Cherryholme, Feather, Hesketh, Lynam, Rawlins, Sagar. Interchanges (All Used): Jode Sheriffe, Graham, Lee, Peltier.
RAIDERS: Evalds, Shaw, Walton, Wiper, Grant, Speakman, Campbell, Dawson, Mossop, Jones, Harrison, Toal, Dixon. Interchanges: Low (Not Used), Butler, Bullock, Govin.