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Cougars Off To The Races For Cheltenham Battle – All Golds Preview

Gloucestershire All Golds v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 12th March

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham

Cougars opened the new League One campaign with a comprehensive victory over the North Wales Crusaders last Sunday and now head south to face the All Golds as they look to keep neck and neck with Toronto at the front of the chase on Cheltenham Festival week.

LAST TIME OUT:

All Golds opened the new League One season with a narrow 10-6 defeat at Hunslet. In awful conditions at the South Leeds Stadium, with Jordan Andrade scoring the try which led to Gloucestershire’s only points on the afternoon with Cougars academy product Ben Stead adding the extras with the boot.

The Cougars got off to a flying start in the new League One campaign as they recorded a 50-8 victory over the North Wales Crusaders at Cougar Park. Andy Gabriel, Adam Ryder and Matty Beharrell all helped themselves to a brace of tries each with Josh Tonks, Vinny Finigan and Danny Lawton also crossing to complete the scoring.

TEAM NEWS:

Former Cougar Ben Stead will miss out on Sunday following sustaining a serious knee injury in the defeat at Hunslet. Alex Gaskell, Phil Cowburn and Chris Barlow all return to the squad following illness whilst there is no place for the All Golds big off-season recruit from the Salford Red Devils, Jordan Andrade.

Craig Lingard has lost Scott Law (Hamstring) in training with his place in the 19 man squad being taken by Adam Brook. Judge joins Emmerson Whittel (Jaw) and Ben Sagar (Appendix) on the sidelines with James Brown back with parent club Batley for their game with Bradford which sees Sean Kelly return to the side. Ritchie Hawkyard is in line to make his 200th career appearance whilst both Davey Dixon and Josh Casey are suspended.

KEY BATTLE:

In their Captain, Welsh international Steve Parry, the All Golds have one of League One’s stand out performers from the hooker position. His opposite number and fellow skipper James Feather will pose one of Parry’s toughest and most determined opponents this season and it will be a fierce battle between the two in Cheltenham.

THE SQUADS:

ALL GOLDS: Agoro; Barlow; Brickhill; Carter; Cowburn; Elliott; Fallon; Gaskell; Hyde; Kidd; Kislingbury; Lloyd-Jones; McClean; Mitchell; Parry; Purslow; Walter; Williams; Worrall.

COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Beharrell; Brook; Conroy; Emmett; Feather; Finigan; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Kelly; Lawton; Lynam; Milner; Nicholson; Rawlins; Ryder; Tonks; Welsh.

THE COACHES:

All Golds Head Coach Lee Greenwood: “Keighley had a good win last weekend and will come down full of confidence.

“Against North Wales they started really well and everything they tried seemed to come off for them, so we know we’ll need to be focused from the off.

“Physically we look strong and fit and there’s a different mentality in this squad to in previous season and we want to make sure we keep standard high.

“We don’t want to just be competing with the best sides in this division anymore, we want to beating them.

“We’re confident now though that we don’t need to worry too much about the opposition.”

Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “Regardless of who we’re playing, we need to keep our standards the same.

“They look a big, aggressive unit. They carried hard and strong last week and I would imagine they will try to do the same against us.

“Defensively, we’re going to have to muscle up. Against the Crusaders, defensively we were good for the majority of the game although I wasn’t pleased with some of the tries we conceded.

“Luckily, they played North Wales the week before us, so when we were reviewing North Wales we got a chance to look at them as well.”

THE REFEREE:

This Sunday’s referee at the Prince of Wales Stadium for this Kingstone Press League One Round Two fixture is Marcus Griffiths from Widnes. This will be Griffiths first appointment as the man in the middle for a Cougars fixture after previously serving as both a linesman and reserve official in matches featuring Keighley.

PREDICTION:

Fixtures between these two in the past have been fiery encounters which have to date produced seven sin binnings and two dismissals in the four previous meetings. Sunday should be a game more focused on the talents and abilities and one you’d fancy Craig Lingard’s side in given their red hot form to begin the new competitive season, however Lee Greenwood’s side are anything but pushovers. – COUGARS BY 18.

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