Keighley Cougars 50-8 North Wales Crusaders Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars opened their Kingstone Press League One campaign with a comprehensive 50-8 victory over the North Wales Crusaders.
A blistering first half display saw Craig Lingard’s side run in seven unanswered tries to set the platform for the afternoon.
Speaking post-match, Lingard said: “It was certainly a pleasing result, we talked about standards in the first half all week in the build-up after the Fryston game.
“We started well and we reached the standards we had set ourselves and in the first half it set us in good stead for the rest of the game.
“I’m not particularly pleased with our second half performance but we knew North Wales would come at us because they couldn’t really play much worse than what they had in the first half.
“Scott Law’s efforts in his first spell really laid the foundations for today’s performance as he bullied North Wales through the middle of the park. I also thought Matty Beharrell’s performance was outstanding and Danny Lawton had a good game in the right centre.
“Overall though today, it was a good and pleasing performance and to put 50 points on the board in the first league game lays a marker but more importantly it means we have two points on the board.”
Despite Cougars not touching the ball in the opening two minutes, Andy Gabriel intercepted a wild offload and raced 90 metres to score and from there his side never looked back.
Gabriel was over in the corner for his second shortly after after the North Wales defence had held Josh Tonks up over the line.
The lead was extended as Adam Ryder powered his way over from ten metres after using his head as a battering ram to knock Crusaders defenders away.
The game then turned into the Matty Beharrell show as the Cougars stand-off had a scintillating five-minute spell in which he ran rings round the visitors.
First he dived underneath the uprights after great work from Ritchie Hawkyard to break through the line and run half the length of the field.
Beharrell extended the lead to 26 points as he sold a great dummy to an onrushing tackler before sidestepping around him and scoring a fine try.
It was turning into a long afternoon for Mike Grady’s side and it seemed to be getting longer when Ryder broke down the left flank and offloaded inside to the supporting Tonks who couldn’t be stopped.
Despite taking a kick to the shin in the process of scoring his second, Beharrell reached the peak of his powers once more as he aimed a cross field kick to Vinny Finigan who picked it out of the air before touching down.
The heavy pitch was taking a lot out of the players in the second half as the scoring slowed.
Cougars did get the scoreboard moving again when the ball was worked across the right channel to Danny Lawton who made no mistake. It was a try similar to the one he scored in the previous game.
North Wales did get some points on the board as the Cougars defence switched off twice to allow Earl Hurst and Tommy Johnson to score.
The final say went to Lingard’s side. Ryder powered over once more to take the Cougars tally to the half-century.