Warrington Wolves Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
The Cougars came into this Tetley’s Challenge Cup Fourth Round encounter with Cup holders and Super League big boys Warrington Wolves as massive underdogs.
Cougars, who following the Workington postponement had not played since the third round victory at Siddal, had Scott Leatherbarrow out injured it saw a start for Player-Coach Paul March who was making his first appearance since the sides 34-0 victory over York City Knights in March. Andy Shickell returned to the line up, taking a place amongst the interchanges following the recovery from injury that ruled him out of the previous rounds victory over Siddal. Paul White returned to take the place of Jesse Sheriffe. Other changes saw Sean Hesketh and Jode Sheriffe take the places off Lewis Reed and Scott Law. Ryan Patchett stepped up onto the bench for his first team debut.
For the visitors Warrington Wolves, Tony Smith made plenty of changes from the previous weeks Super League seventeen. With stars Lee Briers and Adrian Morley out injured, Chris Bridge, Stefan Ratchford, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Chris Hill and Paul Wood dropping out of the squad all together. This saw Ben Harrison and Garreth Carvell come off the bench to start along with Gareth O’ Brien, Rhys Williams and Danny Bridge on debut came into the thirteen. The gaps on the substitutes bench were taken by Glenn Riley, also on debut, and Tyrone McCarthy who had spent most of the season with the Swinton Lions on dual registration.
Gareth O’ Brien got the game underway in the Keighley sunshine and following the exchanging of possession which saw some sloppy handling by both sides eventually saw Wire win a goal line dropout which the men from Cheshire nearly took advantage but were penalised for a forward pass to Ryan Atkins.
Keighley pressured the Warrington line and nearly got lucky after a Danny Jones kick was nearly touched down by Gavin Duffy but Chris Riley rushed in to push out and after an absolutely woeful decision by James Child, Chris Riley ran 80 metres untouched to score with Brett Hodgson converting.
James Child continued to make some dreadful calls missing an obvious knock on in front of him and after from a scrum further down the field, Ryan Atkins went in for dummy half to put the visitors further in front. Brett Hodgson then converted yet again to double the visitors advantage.
James ‘Buster’ Feather then proceeded to burst through the Wolves line but then threw a wild offload to Gareth O’ Brien and Warrington found themselves within touching distance of the Cougars line again with Trent Waterhouse breaking through the line to score. Brett Hodgson converted once again to put the Wire further in control.
Warrington kept finding ways through the gaps in the Cougars defence but on two occasions were penalised for forward passes. The Cougars also on two occasions found their way through the Warrington defence as well but Danny Jones kicks on the last were too strong and found their way out of play on both occasions.
Warrington were proving far too strong for the Cougars but Keighley kept threatening to score and were thwarted by the Wolves defence whilst Ryan Patchett, on senior debut, was making an impact but from the set off the back off a poor Danny Jones kick, Warrington made their way down the field of play and some slick passing saw Ryan Atkins cross with ease into the corner but this time, Brett Hodgson sliced the ball wide of the posts.
Cougars were awarded a penalty for offside and tried to get the first try of the afternoon for themselves and kept falling short despite the best efforts of player-coach Paul March and young hooker Joe Parkinson with Danny Jones kick on the last finding its way into touch once again but found possession of a Rhys Williams knock on following a high tackle by Andy Shickell which resulted in a Wolves penalty.
James Child kept making enemies amongst the home support however after punishing the Cougars for tackling Joel Monaghan in the air despite him being on the ground following a great break by Paul White before penalising Cougars for offside which none of them seemed to be. Rhys Williams then crossed in the corner and Mr Child awarded the try despite the Welsh winger being out of play and not grounding the ball. Brett Hodgson sliced the conversion once again however.
The second half was an absolute nightmare for the Cougars and showed at the very start with Rhys Williams crossing in the corner yet again before just two minutes later Ryan Atkins finishing off a good break following a thirty metre dash from Trent Waterhouse to extend the visitors lead into a slightly emphatic one.
Richard Myler then added the third try in the opening seven minutes of the half after he collected the ball from a Chris Riley break and he went through unchallenged to go underneath the sticks. Hodgson converted before from the next set, Atkins went 80 metres unchallenged for his fourth of the afternoon and Hodgson converted with ease yet again to hit the fifty mark.
Some more Warrington attack came as did some more points after Trent Waterhouse broke the line before Chris Riley cut inside from the wing to score the visitors tenth try of the afternoon. Hodgson then converted once again with relative ease.
Keighley then got some points on the board after their second set off the half saw some clever and astute passing from player-coach Paul March sending Danny Lawton nearly over and then Paul White through a rare gap in the primrose and blue to score. Danny Jones then somehow missed the unmissable conversion.
Warrington then punished Cougars for the very dare of scoring with some power play led by Ryan Atkins sending young Glenn Riley in on debut to cross for the visitors twelfth try of the afternoon in this very one sided cup tie. Brett Hodgson then converted yet again to restore the visitors sixty plus point margin. A clever kick off followed however and the Cougars were nearly in yet again but Jode Sheriffe knocked on.
Warrington surrended possession sloppily from the resulting set before Cougars did the same as Joe Parkinson knocked on in the tackle after a hard hit by Richard Myler but a knock on by Garreth Carvell resulted in a Cougars set which won a penalty for the first time in a long while of Referee James Child after some dirty play in the tackle on Sean Hesketh.
Cougars came close from a kick by Buster from dummy half but Warrington took another set and yet again scored with Brett Hodgson fighting his way over before converting his own try to put a seventy point gap between the sides. Warrington however lost the ball from kick off after giving away a sloppy penalty which allowed the home side to challenge for a second try of the afternoon but Jode Sheriffe knocked on yet again.
Possession was then exchanged between the sides with mistakes galore plus help from the whistle happy match official didn’t help play however the Wolves came close but Chris Riley was flagged in touch after his heel touched the whitewash. Cougars also had one last chance to score with Paul White collecting a chip over top from Buster before his wild offload fell into the arms of Ryan Atkins but James Child was whistle happy yet again to give Cougars a penalty. Brendon Rawlins then crossed but Child wrong ruled the try out for an offside against Buster.
Cougars XIII: White, Duffy, Williams, Lawton, Barnett, Jones, March, Hesketh, Feather, Jode Sheriffe, Pursglove, Sagar, Rawlins. Interchange: Shickell, Chandler, Parkinson, Patchett.
Wolves XIII: Hodgson, C Riley, J Monaghan, Atkins, Williams, O’Brien, Myler, Harrison, Higham, Carvell, Waterhouse, Bridge, Currie. Interchange: M Monaghan, Cooper, McCarthy, G Riley.