Barrow Raiders v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Saturday 18th March
Venue: J F Hornby Stadium, Barrow-In-Furness
A shock defeat at the All Golds last Sunday has the Cougars licking their paws and looking to roar back as they travel a regular jaunt north to Barrow to face the Raiders in the Fourth Round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
LAST TIME OUT:
Despite a tight first half, Barrow blew Coventry away in the second half to record a 14-50 victory in the East Midlands. Luke Cresswell recorded a hat-trick of tries whilst Jarrad Stack grabbed a brace himself. Futher tries from Nathan Mossop, Dan Abram, Declan Hulme and Joe Bullock wrapped up the victory for the Raiders.
The Cougars fell to a shock 46-22 defeat in Cheltenham at the hands of the All Golds. Despite scoring in the opening minute of the game through Adam Ryder, a Josh Tonks try saw the Cougars head into the interval trailing by six. Quick fire tries from James Feather and Will Milner drew Craig Lingard’s side level but the All Golds proved to be the better side on the day scoring four unanswered tries for victory.
Paul Crarey is still without the injured quartet of Max Wiper, Karl Ashall, Chris Fleming and Matty Holmes who are out through long term injuries sustained during pre-season. Danny Morrow (Shoulder) has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Cougars whilst Ryan Fieldhouse (Shoulder) is fit and included in the Raiders squad.
Craig Lingard is counting the cost of the opening month of the competitive season with Emmerson Whittel (Jaw) and Scott Law (Hamstring) now being joined on the injury list by Ritchie Hawkyard (Ribs), Nathan Conroy (Ankle) and Callum Dunne (Hip). Brad Nicholson (Illness) and Neil Cherryholme are both unavailable for selection.
Jarrad Stack has been a top performer at both Championship and League One level for the best part of a decade since arriving from Australia and his signing was a major statement by the Raiders. He has not failed to deliver so far this season but in Josh Tonks comes up against one of the hardest back row runners in the division. It shall very much be the case of the irresistible force against the immovable object on Saturday evening.
RAIDERS: Abram; Aspinwall; Brennan; Bullock; Charnock; Crellinn; Cresswell; Dallimore; Dawson; Deurden; Fieldhouse; Hulme; Litherland; Marwood; Mossop; Stack; Toal; Walker; Wilkes.
COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Beharrell; Brook; Dixon; Emmett; Feather; Finigan; Gabriel; Kelly; Kitson; Lawton; Lynam; Milner; Rawlins; Ryder; Sagar; Tonks; Welsh.
Barrow Raiders Head Coach Paul Crarey: “We gave a solid pretty much error-free performance at Coventry and all the lads did what was expected of them, but then lets not gloss over the fact that there were some errors.
“So, a good trip, with fifty points on the scoreboard after the previous week’s 28 against York. We are scoring well and defending well too.
“And there were no weaknesses of significance, we played across the pitch and were good in the middle. We defended when we had to and pressed the Coventry side hard, and all respect to them.
“The pressure on places in unbelievable and it’s something we haven’t had. Even with a couple of injuries, there is pressure on lads to perform, and in our third year, the atmosphere and the desire of the players makes this a good place to be.”
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “We’ll certainly have to look at possible changes, there are guys sat on the sidelines who are champing at the bit to try and get in.
“And, as I’ve said to the players, if anyone comes knocking on my door this week asking why they’re not playing then they can watch the 80-minute video of last weekend.
“There’s some guys who have not played for a few weeks, so they’re going to be off the pace.
“But we’ll have to deal with that. We’ve reassessed at training this week and we’ve been able to have a look at our 17 for Barrow.”
This Saturday evenings referee at the J F Hornby Stadium for this Challenge Cup clash is Gareth Hewer from Whitehaven. Hewer is no stranger to either of these sides and has refereed clashes between these two in the past. Hewer also was the man in the middle at Wembley for the final of this competition last season between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves.
Defeat at the All Golds has left Cougars wounded and history tell us this is when they’re at their most dangerous. These two sides are no strangers to each other and the Cougars will have to perform much better than when they met in pre-season, the Raiders are on a high though so this has all the makings of a classic in Cumbria. – COUGARS BY 4.