Keighley Cougars 36-0 Keighley Amateur Select Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a hard-fought 36-0 victory over a Keighley Amateur Select side at Cougar Park.
Muddy and wet conditions were the order of the day in the first Peter Fell Memorial Game to be played for six years, with an error-strewn game not helped by a referee who will be hoping for a new whistle this Valentine’s Day.
Speaking following the game, Head Coach Craig Lingard said: “It wasn’t the best of games in regards to entertainment.
“It was a good hit out for some of our younger players and handed the reserves experience playing alongside some of the senior professionals.
“It was difficult to stand out and most of the game was played mainly up the middle and one up rugby too for most of the game in conditions which were that poor.
“The game was error ridden and the select side controlled the ball really well in the first half which showed with their completion rate which was really good in the conditions.
“Today showed the importance of having a reserves side and it was difficult for them to step up having not trained with the first team but now they’ve had a taste of first team rugby hopefully they’ll kick on now and put their hands up.”
The Cougars will have felt particularly hard done by when Ritchie Hawkyard and Adam Brook both pounced on the latter’s grubber kick underneath the posts, but the official pulled play back for a Cougars scrum after consulting with his touch judge.
Hawkyard however did open the scoring from the resulting scrum for the first half’s only real moment of note as he took Brook’s offload from five metres out and raced around behind the posts.
As the weather and the pitch underfoot continued to worsen, the Cougars ran in six second half tries with Lingard using this game to give first-team debuts to nine of his reserves squad.
And it was one of these debutants, hooker Jack Clover, who found a way over the Amateur Select line when he saw space from the play the ball to dive over from dummy half.
Carl McGuigan was held up over the line and credit must go to a side put together at a month’s notice to face their semi-professional opposition, especially the manner in which they controlled the ball.
However, they fell further behind as Josh Casey backed himself from 20 metres and just bundled over the line.
Sean Kelly – in just his third game following an 18-month lay-off – added his side’s fourth try when he barged his way over from a pass from dummy half.
The fitness of a semi-professional side compared to amateur opposition was beginning to show and the Cougars’ lead was extended further as player-coach Rikki Sheriffe dived over after the Amateurs narrowly held out Neil Cherryholme.
Harry Aaronson was next to cross, with the full-back taking a wild offload from the mud and sidestepping two oncoming tacklers to race through from 30 metres, weaving his way over in the process.
On the final hooter, the Cougars wrapped up the scoring and the game on an awful afternoon for a game of rugby league as they worked the ball down the left-hand channel to Vinny Finigan who went over in the corner.