Coventry Bears 24-44 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars made it three consecutive wins as they returned from a three-week break with victory at Coventry Bears.
All the damage was done in the first half before a mediocre second-half performance which left Head Coach Craig Lingard fuming with his players.
“The performance, especially in the second half, was absolutely awful and I let the lads know that if it wasn’t for the game on Wednesday then they would have been getting it at training on Tuesday,” said Lingard.
“I don’t know if it was the attitude or application or a mixture of the two during the second half but it wasn’t good enough as we’d put ourselves into a position there to put some points on the board.
“We know that the League table come the end of the season could come down to points difference so we’ve missed a massive opportunity.
“Without being disrespectful to Coventry, we’d put ourselves into that position and we’d earned the right to put more points on the board and didn’t take the opportunity.
“This is a process and we’re just not there yet and we’re trying to get through this year to get to where we need to be and we’re not where we need to be yet and it’s simply not good enough.”
It showed from the start of the match, however, that Craig Lingard’s side were in for a difficult afternoon, despite their lengthy periods of control, as they fell behind to tries from Harry Chapman and Michael Russell either side of the Cougars’ score through Mike Emmett.
However, once they took the lead through Hamish Barnes’ effort on his ‘second debut’ for the club, they turned it up a notch.
Andy Gabriel produced a superb solo effort as he cut in from the left wing, leaving a number of Bears defenders in his wake to race over next to the uprights.
The Bears defence were resilient though until the final ten minutes of the first half when Keighley turned the screw to score three quickfire tries.
Brad Nicholson powered his way underneath the posts before Harry Aaronson scored his first try for the club as he raced 60 metres after great work from the restart to create space for him to break the line.
Scott Law then strolled over with relative ease four minutes before the half-time hooter.
The Cougars once more applied pressure in the early stages of the second half and, despite seeing Matty Beharrell’s effort ruled out for offside, it wasn’t long before Brendon Rawlins rounded Chapman to touch down.
Rawlins then turned provided for the visitors as he broke the line and, despite being caught by Chapman, he managed to get the offload away to Will Milner, who touched down to become the Cougars’ eighth different scorer of the afternoon.
The Cougars switched off for the final half hour of the game and paid the price as a wild offload from the ground managed to find its way to Russell, who raced to the corner to seal his brace for the home side.
Chapman then sealed his own brace for Coventry after he raced through a bus-sized gap to score after great work by Joe Prior.
Aaronson’s promising first league appearance for the Cougars was then brought to a premature end after he committed a professional foul on Brad Delaney to earn himself a yellow card.
Russell took immediate advantage as he raced round to complete his hat-trick.