Barrow Raiders 20-0 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars exited the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with defeat away at League One rivals Barrow Raiders.
The game was played in horrendous conditions with driving rain and blustering winds throughout the evening and there cause wasn’t helped by a penalty count heavily in the Raiders favour.
However, Craig Lingard can be pleased overall with his side’s performance that was a mass improvement from the defeat to the All Golds six days earlier.
“For me, today wasn’t about the result, it was about the performance and the reaction,” said the Head Coach.
“And I’m pleased overall with the performance as I got the reaction I was looking for, especially in the first half when the conditions didn’t really play to our style of Rugby.
“The penalty count was 12-6 against us and we certainly weren’t six penalties worse off than Barrow but it’s something we’ll need to look at and I’ll watch the video to see which penalties were just and which weren’t.
“We as a team talk about repeat sets and one of the patterns you get in Rugby League is a penalty followed by a try and we actually look at the stats on a Tuesday after a game so we won’t be happy that we’ve conceded three tries on the back of penalties.”
The first half produced very little in terms of quality with the game’s first real chance coming after 25 minutes when Harry Aaronson thought he had marked his Cougars debut with a try but his effort was ruled out for a double movement.
Adam Ryder had a glorious opportunity to score from a break but was hauled down by a superb last ditch tackle from Jarrad Stack.
Andy Gabriel then was agonisingly close to touching down a floating kick from Matty Beharrell but was thrown off balance by a Declan Hulme challenge in the air.
Barrow had a chance of their own as Jamie Dallimore sent Ryan Fieldhouse racing through but the veteran full-back spilled the ball on the line.
Defences were on top throughout and it was the first real error which led to the game’s opening try on the hooter.
Nathan Kitson missed a one-on-one tackle on Lewis Charnock and the Raiders scrum-half danced his way through to dive over next to the posts.
The respective defences continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and despite the Cougars losing possession immediately from the restart, the Raiders further three tries all came on the back of penalties.
Charnock forced his way over for his and Barrow’s second shortly after the interval on the back of great work from Stack who had won the ball back from kick off.
Two quick fire tries in the space of four minutes shortly after the hour mark would end any hopes of a Cougars comeback in the Cumbrian rain and mud.
Barrow first worked the ball across to the right flank where Hulme was on hand to throw a superbly timed late offload to Shane Toal who dove over in the corner.
Hulme would then turn from provider to scorer as he darted through to slide over after spotting a gap.
The Cougars best chance off the second half came three minutes from full-time as they pressured the Raiders try line only for a clearly frustrated Mike Emmett to knock-on five metres out.