Workington Town 30-30 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
COUGARS kept their top-eight hopes in their own hands after a dramatic last gasp 30-30 draw at Workington Town.
Andy Gabriel dived in at the corner as the full-time hooter sounded but Matty Beharrell put the resulting kick to win it narrowly wide, meaning the spoils were shared in Cumbria.
“That try has just saved our season in terms of our top eight ambitions,” said an ecstatic Craig Lingard following the match.
“I was really disappointed with that first half and at half time I questioned the player’s desire, commitment and toughness and I questioned them as Rugby players.
“They answered them questions in the second half and it’s massively important as it means we’re not relying on anyone else to slip up next weekend.
“We know all we need to do now is pick up a victory against Oxford and that’s what we’ll be focused on this week leading up to that game in training.
“I told the guys at half-time that the Crusaders were beating Whitehaven at the time, so I let them know what the situation was and that if we lost we wouldn’t have our fate in our own hands and it all had the desired effect.”
Kick-off was delayed due to the late arrival of the match doctor but Workington broke the deadlock in the fifth minute when Harry Aaronson spilled a Carl Forber grubber and Joe Hambley pounced to dive over.
Town extended that lead when Theerapol Ritson brought Davey Dixon in off the wing and set Gabriel Fell free to race over in the corner.
Keighley responded and got onto the scoreboard through the quick thinking of debutant Aidan Scully who charged down a Forber kick and broke before the ball was worked to Gabriel to score.
Brendon Rawlins was sin-binned after Tom Curwen threw the ball at the Cougars captain’s head and Rawlins retaliated with a right hook – Curwen was also sent for a ten-minute break.
From the resulting penalty, Jamie Doran jinked through the line to score his first try of the afternoon.
Doran grabbed his second minutes later as he took the ball from the scrum and brushed Adam Brook to one side before crashing over the line.
A bizarre incident followed that score when Neil Cherryholme, the 18th man who was acting as water carrier, was sent to the stands.
The Cougars got off to a flying start in the second half. On the back of a penalty, Ritchie Hawkyard used a runner to his advantage to race through a bus-sized gap next to the uprights.
Lingard saw his side reduced to 12 men in the 53rd minute when a ‘punch up’ ensued in back play and the referee opted to show Brad Nicholson a red card after consulting with his touch judges.
The comeback was then on though, as two quick-fire tries from Sean Kelly closed the gap to two points. First, the hooker pounced on a loose ball to score before scurrying in underneath the posts from a play the ball.
Workington extended their lead when Stuart Howarth spotted Hambley free on the wing and the Town winger raced in at the corner.
But the Cougars levelled for the first time in the game through Adam Ryder who crashed over in the corner after great work by Hawkyard to send the centre racing through the Workington defensive line.
Ritson slid through the grasps of Gabriel to race to the line to put the hosts back in front. However, that was nothing compared to the drama set to unfold as the Cougars grabbed a share of the spoils.