Keighley Cougars v London Skolars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 18th June
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
After a damning defeat away at Newcastle last Sunday, the Cougars top eight aspirations are under serious threat as one of their top eight spot rivals London Skolars visit Cougar Park.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Cougars slumped at a 36-12 defeat away at Newcastle Thunder. Tries from Adam Ryder and Vinny Finigan in the first half set the Cougars up nicely for the second despite trailing by two points, but the Thunder ran in 24 unanswered points after the interval to condemn Craig Lingard’s side to a fifth away defeat of the season.
The Skolars came from behind to register a 31-18 home victory over Oxford to keep themselves alive and kicking in the race for the eight. Trailing 6-18 at one point to their visitors, Jermaine Coleman’s team turned up a gear to run in 25 unanswered points with Ben Pointer, Mike Bishay and Callum Bustin amongst the pointscorers.
Craig Lingard will be without Vinny Finigan (Ankle) for Sunday’s visit of the Skolars but good news is that Ritchie Hawkyard (Facial) returned to training this week but is still another three weeks at least away from match fitness. Harry Aaronson (Shoulder) returns to the 19 man squad and Adam Brook comes in to replace Liam Darville.
The Skolars make the trip north to West Yorkshire this Sunday to face the Cougars and have made three changes of there own from the side that defeated Oxford last Saturday. Michael Greenhalgh, Lameck Juma and James Hill all drop out of the side with Andy Winfield, Charlie Lawrence and Kameron Pearce-Paul taking there places.
The Skolars have a experienced veteran in the halves in the shape of former Cougar Jy-Mel Coleman and his partnership with Mike Bishay could cause the Cougars problems if not contained, they will provide more than a stiff test for Matty Beharrell and his half-back partner come 3pm on Sunday.
COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Barnes; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Dixon; Emmett; Feather; Gabriel; Law; Lynam; Milner; Nicholson; Rawlins; Ryder; Tonks; Whittel.
SKOLARS: Adebiyi; Allison; Bishay; Brown; Bryan; Bustin; Chester; Coleman; Dollapi; Driver; Lawrence; Melling; Nash; Pearce-Paul; Pointer; Robinson; Sykes; Williams; Winfield.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “We keep stressing the importance of these ‘four-point’ games. It is important to take points off teams around us but also important to build momentum for the second half of the season.
“We’ve got to be beating these teams around us but our performances against them have not been good enough. That has to improve as we play London this week and York the next.
“If you have an off-day or off 40 minutes you get found out and we were found out on Sunday. We’ve got to get back to it soon.”
London Skolars Head Coach Jermaine Coleman has yet to comment.
The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Round Ten Eleven Fixture at Cougar Park is Nick Bennett from Sheffield. The game will be Bennett’s third Cougars appointment of the season with the second of his previous two coming in early April as Keighley’s League One Cup defence was ended at the hands of the Barrow Raiders.
Head Coach Craig Lingard has stressed the importance of this ‘four-point’ game and now the regular season enters it’s run-in he needs his side to respond and pick up crucial points to avoid missing out on a top eight finish in the division. That has to start this Sunday with the visit of the London Skolars, themselves with top eight aspirations, and nothing less than the two points will suffice for either side.