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Club Statement – James ‘Buster’ Feather To Retire

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The following statement is being issued on the behalf of James Feather by Keighley Cougars.

Keighley Cougars Club Captain James ‘Buster’ Feather has announced he is to retire at the conclusion of the current season after 15 years with the club.

James joined the club in 2003 and went on to make his senior debut in a 2006 Northern Rail Cup defeat away at Oldham Roughyeds before being appointed captain by Barry Eaton the following season after the retirement of Phil Stephenson.

Feather in the past decade has captained the club on 247 different occasions and led the side through two promotions in 2009 and 2011, relegations in 2010 and 2014, administration in 2010 and the tragic death of Danny Jones in 2015.

In that time Buster has made 304 appearances for Keighley Cougars and has scored 62 tries including hat-tricks in the emotionally charged home victory over Coventry Bears in May 2015 and again against the Hemel Stags later that year.

He has also played under 4 different head coaches and recently passed the milestone of playing alongside 200 different teammates.

Feather said: “It’s something I’ve been toying with all year to be honest since pre-season as I’ve found it hard to keep myself in condition.

“I’ve gone self-employed by setting up my own business and it’s been really tough especially going back into the building trade.

“But the biggest thing for me is that I’ve found it harder than I’ve ever found it before and it’s been tough to keep myself fit and as sharp as the others because when I’m out on the field I feel okay but there’s certain stuff I’m missing.

“There might be a tackle that I know in the past I could have got to or there would be half a gap that I know I could have got through and little things like that mean a lot to me as I’m a percentage type of player and I know I could have made 30 or 40 tackles a game.

“But now I’m only making 20 tackles a game and that breaks my heart so that’s the reason I’m going to retire.

“This has been the hardest decision in the world and I want to play on forever but I feel the sport is cruel as if you play snooker or darts as a kid you can play well into your fifties and earn good money from it.

“But for us as professional Rugby League players you’ve got a ten year stint I’d say if you’re lucky to be mostly injury free which I have been but the sport is cruel, you get a short period and you train all your life from when you’re 8 years old and you play for the reserves and break into the first team and then one day you’re career is over because you’re too old.

“I have to give a quick mention to Craig Lingard too, I wish he would have been brought in sooner which is no disrespect to Paul March because Marchy is a good coach but I feel that I have learnt a lot from Craig and he could have developed me further as a player.

“I did speak to Craig at the start of this year and told him that I could give him two more years but as the year has gone on I can’t see myself doing another year playing as well as I know that I can do and I don’t want to be one of them players who is 18th or 19th man every week.

“When I spoke to Craig about my decision to retire he was keen to keep me on as a part of his coaching staff but in a different role as more of a step into the back coach to allow me to learn as I’m not in a position to coach anyone at the moment.

“I would be setting myself up to fail by going straight into coaching and I have to learn my trade first and Craig is a really good coach and the Cougars are in good hands with him and will take us forward and I’m really looking forward to learning from him.

“I’m going to venture out a little bit too as I have friends at other clubs and I want to oversee what other clubs do as Keighley Cougars is all I’ve ever known and it will be good to see how other clubs operate aside from the Cougars.

“I know I’m leaving the captaincy in good hands with Rawlo and Mike Emmett, Brendon is a really good Club Captain as he leads from the front and does all the right things and he always has done since he’s been with the club and of course is a really good friend of mine and has learnt a lot.

“Mike Emmett is a real leader and he is a player’s leader as all the players look up to Mike and he’s a lad’s lad which is really important when you’re being a captain and he is a real professional, he trains hard and looks after himself away from the club and the players are in good hands with Mike Emmett.

“Out of all the memories, Jonesy passing away is the one that will always be with me as he was the man who made me the player I am today as I was the 9 and he was the 6 and he bossed me around the field so I owe a lot of my career to Danny.

“I have to mention the coaches too as they’ve always picked me and I’ve played over 300 games for the club and the game that stands out is the 2011 Grand Final as I even scored a try two weeks after I’d had surgery because JD gave me the nod and is the game I will always watch back over and over on DVD.

“The other game that stands out is the Coventry game a week after Jonesy died as I scored a hat-trick and I’d never scored a hat-trick since I was 8 years old and to do it in front of Lizzie and the twins and that crowd, it felt like Danny was looking down on me that afternoon.

“I have to offer my thanks to so many people over the years including my coaches and teammates at Cougars Cubs, Keighley Albion and the Cougars and obviously my friends, family and my wife Gina who has been fully supportive of me throughout my entire career as I don’t feel sometimes people appreciate that we’re away from our wives and families four times a week and they’re at home waiting for us.

“I also have to thank my sponsors David & Margaret Proctor as they are two of the most selfless people you could ever wish to meet and what they gave me in my testimonial was amazing and they have sponsored me throughout my entire career and have put money behind me and really pushed it and they’re amazing people and really grateful.

“Hopefully me and the boys can push on now in the Eights and finish the season and my career on a high.”

We can confirm that Head Coach Craig Lingard has offered James a position on his coaching staff for the 2018 season and that Buster has accepted the role and will move into the backroom team following his retirement at the end of this season.

Everyone associated with the Keighley Cougars would like to thank Buster for his 15 years of loyal service to the club and we are extremely proud of everything he has accomplished for the club and have no doubt that he will one day be inducted into the Cougars Hall of Fame.

Cougar Park is open for Early Bird Season Ticket payments

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Cougar Park will be open between 10am and 2pm Friday this week and Tuesday next week.

The offices will also be open from 9am to 4pm next week on Thursday 27th July and Friday 28th July for Early Bird Season Ticket payments.

Alternatively, buy online here now http://keighleycougars.com/product-category/season-tickets/

Super Eights Fixtures Revealed

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Keighley Cougars can this morning announce our fixtures for the forthcoming Kingstone Press League One Super Eights campaign.

A 7th placed finish in the regular season means the Cougars face 4 trips on the road whilst only entertaining 3 times at Cougar Park.

Our campaign starts a week on Sunday (30th July) against Doncaster RL before back-to-back home games.

James Ford brings his York City Knights side to Cougar Park on the 6th August whilst the following Sunday (13th August) sees the Toronto Wolfpack as our visitors with the side looking to go one better as they so nearly did in late March.

A trip to Whitehaven is the final game before the Challenge Cup Final break with September beginning on the road with a visit to Kingston Park to face Newcastle.

Our final home game takes place on September 10th with the visit of Workington Town before finishing with our 4th trip of the year to the J F Hornby Stadium to take on the Barrow Raiders.

Season Tickets are valid for our three Super Eights home games, however, Golden Tickets will no longer be accepted as a method of entry to home games.

KEIGHLEY COUGARS 2017 SUPER EIGHTS FIXTURES:
Sunday 30th July – Doncaster RL – AWAY – 15:00
Sunday 6th August – York City Knights – HOME – 15:00
Sunday 13th August – Toronto Wolfpack – HOME – 15:00
Sunday 20th August – Whitehaven – AWAY – 15:00
Sunday 3rd September – Newcastle Thunder – AWAY – 15:00
Sunday 10th September – Workington Town – HOME – 15:00
Sunday 17th September – Barrow Raiders – AWAY – 15:00

Nicho Handed Ban As Trio Avoid Suspension

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Keighley Cougars can tonight reveal the outcomes of this evening’s RFL Disciplinary proceedings.

Brad Nicholson, initially charged with Grade C Punching, had his charged reduced to a Grade B by the Disciplinary Panel and has been suspended for one game missing he will miss the Super Eights opener a week on Sunday.

Brendon Rawlins (Grade A Striking) and Davey Dixon (Grade A High Tackle) were both found guilty by the panel but both avoided suspension meaning they are available for selection next weekend.

Neil Cherryholme submitted an Early Guilty Plea to his charge of Grade A Foul language towards a match official and has also managed to avoid any form of suspension.

Cougars Run Riot To Secure Eights Berth

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Keighley Cougars 92-6 Oxford RL Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

COUGARS secured their place in the League One Super Eights with a 92-6 home routing of Oxford.

Craig Lingard watched his side run in sixteen tries in a victory that backed up the second half performance at Workington and equalled the club’s biggest ever home win.

“It took us the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game to get into it as we only completed 6 out of our first 11 sets and coughed up to much possession but that’s just me being critical,” said Lingard.

“Other than that it was a really professional performance and it’s pleasing especially as the lads have that belief in themselves.

“We’ve been talking all week in training about the form that we’re showing and even though we didn’t get the result at Whitehaven and had to come back to draw at Workington the performances were there.

“The boys have really taken that on board going into this final regular season game and now going into the Super Eights and they are really confident and pleased with how they’re going.”

Keighley got off to the worst possible start as Oxford earned consecutive sets from a scrum and then a dropout before opening the scoring as Tommy Newbould raced over in the corner.

Parity was soon restored however as James Feather broke the line and drew in the full back before offloading to send Mike Emmett in under the uprights.

Emmerson Whittel had to be carried from the field after sustaining an ankle injury, but the Cougars took the lead for the first time when Brendon Rawlins fended off a couple of tacklers to crash over.

Feather, who had earlier been the provider, turned scorer as he noticed a gap in the defensive line and raced through to squeeze home next to the posts.

Oxford completely crumbled in the final ten minutes of the half as they conceded four quickfire tries.

Hamish Barnes first somehow managed to ground the ball despite being wrapped up by three Oxford defenders.

From the resulting kick-off, Keighley worked up the field and forced an error, and from the resulting free play, Brad Nicholson was sent strolling over the line.

Adam Ryder ran through the full-back to dive over before Barnes scored his second on the hooter after some woeful visiting defence.

Cougars started the second half in the same scoring vain. In the 42nd minute, Matty Beharrell shimmied between two onrushing defenders to send Nicholson walking to the line to seal his brace.

Next, Josh Lynam extended the arrears, finishing off a lovely flowing move after Davey Dixon and then Barnes broke down the right wing.

The game fell into a ten minute lull but that all changed when Lynam powered his way over for a second after stepping around two Oxford defenders.

The tries kept coming as Ritchie Hawkyard marked his first home appearance since April with a try, racing round behind the sticks unchallenged.

Barnes doubled his tally for the afternoon with two tries in as many minutes with Harry Aaronson then getting in on the act, sidestepping his way through the line to cross.

Hawkyard scored his second of the game when he fought through a tackle to squeeze his way over the line with Aaronson racing the length of the field for his second.

Win Or Bust In Race For The Eights – Oxford Preview

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Keighley Cougars v Oxford RL Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 16th July

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley

After rescuing a point, and the season, in dramatic circumstances in the second of the Cumbria double header last weekend the Cougars return to home turf to face Oxford on the final day of the regular season in a game which the Cougars must win in order to achieve a top eight finish ahead of the Super Eights.

LAST TIME OUT:

A sensational second-half comeback with 12 men saw the Cougars overturn a 22-4 deficit at the break to draw 30-30 away at Workington Town. An Andy Gabriel try at the full time hooter rescued the point on the back of fellow second half efforts from Sean Kelly, who scored a brace, Ritchie Hawkyard and Adam Ryder despite losing Brad Nicholson to a dismissal for punching in the 53rd minute.

Oxford were also in Cumbria but had a bad night at the office as they were thrashed 80-10 at the hands of the Barrow Raiders. Tim Rumford’s side conceded 14 tries on the evening at the J F Hornby Stadium but did get two consolation efforts through Harrison Brough and Harvey Burnett as a 13th place finish heading into the League One Shield campaign was confirmed.

TEAM NEWS:

Craig Lingard will be without Aidan Scully (Finger) and Sean Kelly (Knee) who join Vinny Finigan (Ankle) and Will Milner (Toe) on the treatment table heading into the visit of Oxford. Scott Law (Groin) returned to full training this week but won’t be risked against Oxford with Trae O’Sullivan made available by Batley. James Feather and Hamish Barnes both return after missing the trip to Workington last weekend through suspension.

Tim Rumford could be forced into more changes as Oxford prepare to play their fourth game in fourteen days at Cougar Park this Sunday. Adam Dent, Jordan Gill and Anthony Cox could all return after being rested in Cumbria. Zimbabwean back-rower Judah Mazive comes in on dual-registration from Wakefield Trinity whilst former Cougars Fran Welsh and Aaron Nicholson are both expected to feature.

KEY BATTLE:

Oxford’s biggest threat to any side throughout this season to date has been hooker Casey Canterbury who brings fast play around the ruck and explosive play, with a temper to match, to games which has troubled the top teams including Toronto. Canterbury will provide a test for both James Feather and Nathan Conroy this Sunday and could cause the Cougars real damage if not contained.

THE SQUADS:

COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Barnes; Beharrell; Brook; Conroy; Darville; Dixon; Emmett; Feather; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Lynam; Nicholson; O’Sullivan; Rawlins; Ryder; Sagar; Whittel.

OXFORD: Biscomb; Brooker; Burnett; Canterbury; Cox; Dent; Gill; Hayes; Hyde; Joynt; Kay; Mazive; Moules; Newbould; Nicholson; O’Callaghan; Payne; Welsh; Windley.

THE COACHES:

Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “How the Workington game finished will give us a lot of confidence.

“We’re treating it as a victory – we’ve snatched a ‘victory’ from the jaws of defeat and that has kept our season alive.

“It’s down to us now. All we’ve got to do on Sunday is win and we’re in the eight, and I think we can challenge anyone in there.”

Oxford RL Head Coach Tim Rumford: “I back myself to do a job coaching and to help grow the game in Oxford.

“It’s cost me money to do it. The level of commitment for high up is non existent and I think people need to realise that if it wasn’t for Super League clubs, there would be no expansion teams.

“It needs looking at. If I end up getting into trouble, but it makes a few people listen, I’ll cop it.

THE REFEREE:

The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Round Fifteen fixture at Cougar Park is Brandon Robinson from Dewsbury. Robinson is no stranger to either side after refereeing the Cougars on numerous occassions throughout his career to date and also taking charge of Oxford’s fiery defeat to Toronto in the Wolfpack’s historic first home game back in May. His last appointment for Keighley came in last month’s comfortable home victory over the soon to be re-branded South Wales Ironmen.

SUMMARY:

The Cougars top eight aspirations are still in their own hands after Andy Gabriel’s dramatic last second try to rescue a point at Workington. With 8th position still only Craig Lingard’s sides on point difference and the resurgent North Wales Crusaders facing Coventry Bears elsewhere on Sunday, only a victory over Oxford will secure a top eight finish heading into the Super Eights which begin in a fortnight’s time. It’s all or nothing for the Cougars come 3pm.

19 Man Squad Announcement – Oxford RL

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Head Coach Craig Lingard has today announced his 19 man squad to face Oxford RL this weekend.

Lingard has been forced into two changes from last Sunday’s dramatic draw at Workington with Sean Kelly (Knee) sustaining an injury in training this week whilst Aidan Scully (Finger) is also ruled out after suffering a break during the game in Cumbria.

James Feather and Hamish Barnes both come straight back in after missing the draw with Workington through suspension for headbutting and tripping respectively.

Scott Law (Groin) returned to full training this week but is not risked with Trae O’Sullivan made available on dual registration by the Batley Bulldogs with Neil Cherryholme the unlucky man to miss out from last week’s squad.

Cherryholme will instead feature for the reserves against Moldgreen along with Vinny Finigan (Ankle) who returned to full training this week after a month on the sidelines.

Will Milner (Toe) is still in the treatment room and will miss out once more this Sunday with Josh Tonks serving the second of his five game suspension.

19 MAN SQUAD TO FACE OXFORD RL:
1 – Harry Aaronson
2 – Andy Gabriel
5 – Davey Dixon
7 – Matty Beharrell
9 – James Feather
11 – Josh Lynam
12 – Brendon Rawlins
13 – Mike Emmett
14 – Adam Brook
17 – Nathan Conroy
19 – Matthew Bailey
21 – Emmerson Whittel
22 – Ritchie Hawkyard
24 – Liam Darville
25 – Ben Sagar
29 – Brad Nicholson
32 – Adam Ryder
34 – Hamish Barnes
DR – Trae O’Sullivan

RESERVES SQUAD: Adams; Bairstow; Barker; Brown; Cherryholme; Clarkson; Connell; Davey; Finigan; Kinnaird; Levy; McConville; McMillan; Newell; Price; Sheriffe; Smith.

Cougars Reserves To Now Face Moldgreen

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Keighley Cougars Reserves side will now face Moldgreen in the first of Sunday’s double header.

The Reserves fixture, kicking off at 11am, was originally supposed to be against the Oxford RL Development Squad but unfortunately Oxford pulled out of this fixture earlier this week after being unable to raise a team.

Instead, Huddersfield based amateur outfit Moldgreen have agreed to step in at the last minute to provide the opposition for Scott Lindsey’s team.

The game will kick off at 11am with admission included in the price of the first team Kingstone Press League One fixture against Oxford RL.

Cougars Foursome Charged By Disciplinary

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Keighley Cougars can this evening confirm four players have been charged by the RFL Disciplinary Panel following the draw at Workington Town on Sunday.

Brad Nicholson, dismissed in the 53rd minute for punching at Derwent Park, has been charged with Grade C Punching and has no EGP available to him.

Brendon Rawlins, sin-binned in 23rd minute following an incident with Workington’s Tom Curwen, has been charged with Grade A Striking and has an EGP available to him.

Neil Cherryholme, who was sent from the touchline in the 31st minute of the draw, has been charged with Grade A Foul language towards a Match Official. Chez does have a EGP available to him.

The final charge is one of Grade A High Tackle for Davey Dixon. Davey does not have a EGP available.

All four hearings will be heard this coming Tuesday (18th July).

 

West Wales Raiders To Join League One in 2018

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Llanelli based West Wales Raiders are to join Kingstone Press League One in 2018 after completing a takeover of the South Wales Ironmen.

The Rugby Football League approved a takeover by Andrew Thorne, the owner of West Wales Raiders RLFC, along with the board of the WRL Premier League club.

The new ownership means that the current South Wales club will move to Llanelli’s Stebonheath Park with immediate effect and will play three games in the Kingstone Press League 1 Shield at the stadium before playing there permanently from the start of the 2018 Season under the West Wales Raiders name.

The Raiders are the primary tenants of Stebonheath Park and run the bars and cafes at the stadium. The ground has a long history of Rugby League and holds the record for the largest Rugby League attendance in Wales outside of the Millennium Stadium, when over 30,000 attended a Wales v France match in 1935.

Thorne described his pleasure in agreeing a deal to take full control of the Ironmen through a statement of the West Wales Raiders Facebook page.

He said: “I am immensely pleased and proud to have agreed a deal to take over the club and I believe that it’s about time the club has a place of its own and have the ability to lay some roots.

“The current set up at West Wales Raiders has an under 13s, under 15s, and under 17s, as well as a senior squad, and our aim is to keep these running in the area, rename the community club and move them to another ground.

“We are hoping the move will generate interest on the commercial side ready for the 2018 season. This club was set up in the west, being originally based in Neath, and we hope the rugby loving fans of both codes will help us grow.”

Wales Rugby League Chief Executive Officer, Chris Thair said: “It is absolutely essential now the club has a sustained period of stability, builds for the long term and remains in the same community. Moving annually and intervals of intense support from Wales Rugby League to ensure the clubs survival is hampering both our own and the clubs progress in Wales.

“We give thanks to the RFL for approving the takeover and to the RLIF and RLEF in supporting our requests to the RFL that the club continues due to its importance to the international game and the sport in Wales. Andrew Thorne understands all of this and the fact the club already owns the social facilities in and around the ground gives us great hope for the future that our wishes for the club come true. We all wish to see a successful club.

“We would now ask all of our members, the sport as a whole and the local community to back this exciting move and get behind the club.”

Andrew Thorne and his team will become involved in the operation of the club with immediate effect, ensuring the best possible preparation for the 2018 season, something all involved are anxious to achieve.

No further comment will be made at this point. The club asks its supporters for patience while the formal requirements are completed but Mr Thorne has promised that as soon as it is appropriate he will discuss further his vision for the club.

Gabes At The Death Keeps Season Alive

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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.

‘Cup Football’ As Cougars Head To Town – Workington Preview

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Workington Town v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 9th July

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Derwent Park, Workington

Defeat at Whitehaven despite being the better side for the majority left the Cougars top eight hope hanging by a thread as they return to Cumbria to face Workington Town for the penultimate League One regular season fixture which is as important as ever in the battle to finish in the Top Eight.

LAST TIME OUT:

Workington Town barely broke into the second gear to register a 46-16 home victory over an under-performing London Skolars. Theerapol Ritson marked his return from injury with a personal four try haul with Wigan loanee Gabriel Fell, Scotland international Brett Phillips, half-back Jamie Doran and Macauley Davies, on dual registration from Wigan, all crossing to wrap up the victory for Dave Clark’s outfit.

The Cougars put in arguably their best forty minutes of Rugby League to take the lead into half-time but a second half spell of madness ended up with defeat away at high flying Whitehaven. Tries from Adam Brook and Brad Nicholson gave the Cougars a slender lead at the interval and despite second half efforts from Andy Gabriel and James Feather, a spell of conceding three tries in ten penalty filled minutes ended up with a defeat to the Marras.

TEAM NEWS:

Stuart Howarth (Knee) is a major injury concern for Dave Clark after being forced from the field during the victory against London Skolars but Perry Singleton (Wrist) is expected to be fit to face the Cougars after also being forced off against the Skolars. Kris Coward (Knee) and Callum Phillips are both back in training but will not feature this Sunday, however, veteran forward Phil Joseph is expected to be cleared to play this weekend.

Craig Lingard will still be without Vinny Finigan (Ankle), Scott Law (Groin) and Will Milner (Toe) who are all ruled out through injury but Ritchie Hawkyard comes into the side for the first time since suffering his facial injuries against Hunslet on Good Friday and there is a return for Brendon Rawlins (Concussion). Josh Tonks, James Feather and Hamish Barnes are all unavailable due to suspension with Batley duo Trae O’Sullivan and Brad Hill are both expected to feature next weekend against Oxford whilst Aidan Scully is expected to debut at Derwent Park.

KEY BATTLE:

Thailand international full-back Theerapol Ritson returned from injury with a four-try Man of the Match performance against the London Skolars last Sunday and is Town’s dangerman after an impressive debut season in 2016. He will be up against a fellow bright young full-back in Harry Aaronson this weekend in Cumbria and it promises to be an encounter that brings with it a lot of entertaining and breathtaking Rugby League.

THE SQUADS:

TOWN: Curwen; Davies; Doran; Fell; Fitzsimmons; Forber; Hambley; Howarth; Lister; Maudling; Moore; Mossop; Phillips; Prior; Rasool; Ritson; Ryan; Singleton; Szostak.

COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Darville; Dixon; Emmett; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Kelly; Lynam; Nicholson; Rawlins; Ryder; Sagar; Scully; Whittel.

THE COACHES:

Workington Town Head Coach Dave Clark: “100 per cent we need to beat Keighley this weekend.

“We knew coming into the back end of the year what we needed to achieve and Keighley at home is going to be another big, tough game for us – and for them. They need the points just as much as us so that brings a bit more taste to the game.

“I think with the super eights coming up it’s great to see that the sides are challenging for that eight position. It brings another aspect to the games and importance to us definitely.”

Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “I don’t think last weekend’s results make this game at Workington any more important as it was always going to be important.

“The result at Whitehaven was what it was and if we go up to Workington and beat them then we go above them in the League One table and it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve had to prepare a bit differently for this one as Workington’s pitch is smaller in size than the one at Whitehaven and will probably focus on working up the middle rather than down the edges as the Derwent Park field is narrow.

“We’re in a run of fixtures in which we’re playing teams within the top eight and we need to beat these teams in the top eight which as of yet we’ve yet to do.”

THE REFEREE:

The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Round Fourteen fixture at Derwent Park is Stephen Race from Wakefield. Race has yet to officiate a Cougars first team fixture but in the past has been voted the National Conference League’s referee of the year in 2015 and is now into his second season as a referee in the semi-professional ranks after a 14 year career refereeing within the amateur game as well as serving as a Touch Judge in the Championship and League One.

SUMMARY:

The Cougars top eight aspirations are now on a knife’s edge following defeat to Whitehaven and Craig Lingard has described this fixture as ‘Cup Football’ too his player in training this week. This game is a must win for both sides and could be made even more important dependent on Hunslet’s result on Saturday away at London Skolars and both coaches are wary of the position that a defeat will leave them in going into the final round of the regular season next weekend. It’s a big a regular season game they come in terms of league position and the difference between League One and League One Shield rugby come August.

19 Man Squad Announcement – Workington Town

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Head Coach Craig Lingard has today announced his 19 man squad to face Workington Town this Sunday.

Linners has been left with a selection headache for Sunday with this week’s disciplinary hearings leaving him without the trio of Josh Tonks, James Feather and Hamish Barnes who have all been suspended for incidents in the defeat to York City Knights.

They join the injured trio of Scott Law (Groin), Vinny Finigan (Ankle) and Will Milner (Toe) on the sidelines and miss out on Sunday’s trip to Cumbria.

Ritchie Hawkyard (Facial) is included however for the first team since suffering his gruesome injury during the Good Friday victory over Hunslet in April and Brendon Rawlins (Concussion) also returns after missing the defeat to Whitehaven last weekend.

Aidan Scully, promoted from the Reserves this week, is also included and Scully is in line to make his first team debut at Derwent Park.

The Batley duo of Trae O’Sullivan and Brad Hill are not a part of the squad and are instead expected to feature next Sunday against Oxford instead.

19 MAN SQUAD TO FACE WORKINGTON TOWN:
1 – Harry Aaronson
2 – Andy Gabriel
5 – Davey Dixon
7 – Matty Beharrell
11 – Josh Lynam
12 – Brendon Rawlins
13 – Mike Emmett
14 – Adam Brook
15 – Neil Cherryholme
17 – Nathan Conroy
19 – Matthew Bailey
21 – Emmerson Whittel
22 – Ritchie Hawkyard
24 – Liam Darville
25 – Ben Sagar
27 – Sean Kelly
29 – Brad Nicholson
32 – Adam Ryder
35 – Aidan Scully

Travel Pack – Workington Town

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Workington Town Travel Pack by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)

This Sunday, the Cougars travel to Derwent Park to take on Workington Town in Round Fourteen of Kingstone Press League One looking to cement their place within the top eight after defeat at Whitehaven with only more regular season fixture to follow this crucial clash with the Town.

13829GAME DETAILS:
Workington Town v Keighley Cougars
Kingstone Press League One Round Fourteen
Derwent Park
Sunday 9th July 2017, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Mr S Race

 

ADMISSION:
Adult – £15
Concession – £10
Children – £3

VENUE:
downloadWorkington Town currently ply their trade at Derwent Park, a venue which hosted two of Scotland’s group games at the Rugby League World Cup, and has been the clubs home since there move from Borough Park in 1956.

The venue has hosted three Rugby League World Cup fixtures since the addition of floodlights to the venue in 1990. In the 2013 World Cup the ground hosted Scotland’s dramatic last gasp 26-24 victory over Tonga and thrilling 30-30 draw with Italy, and in the 2000 edition of the tournament hosted Samoa’s 21-16 victory over Aotearoa Maori.

The stadium was opened in 1956. The record attendance at Derwent Park was set on 13 March 1965 when 17,741 spectators turned up for a third round Challenge Cup match against Wigan.

The pitch at Derwent Park is surrounded by a 398 yards (364 metres) motorcycle speedway track.

Floodlights were installed in 1990 and were first used on 17 October when Cumbria faced the touring Australians during the 1990 Kangaroo Tour in front of 6,750 fans on a cold night with Australia victorious 42–10 in a dominant display. Derwent also hosted the opening game of the 1994 Kangaroo Tour between Cumbria and Australia on a cold, wet day in front of only 4,227 fans. Australia were again dominant, winning 52–8

Those with bad eyesight may need some glasses or binoculars to view the game as the pitch is surrounded by a speedway track. This is due to the ground being shared with the town’s Speedway team, the Workington Comets.

WHERE TO DRINK:
The main bar at Derwent Park is the Gus Risman Bar under the main stand, this bar provides full bar service with a selection of beers wines and spirits. This bar is accessible from both within the ground and from the car park. There is often pre-match and after match entertainment provided (contact the club for details for a particular match). The Gus Risman Bar opens approximately 90 minutes before kick off on match days only.

The Rough & Ready Bar is situated at the south end of the popular side stand. This bar sells beer, lager and cider, with a limited selection of soft drinks only. This bar opens approximately 30 minutes before kick off on match days only.

Hot food is available from a catering facility at the south end of the enclosure in front of the main stand. There is also a Cafe style outlet over on the Popular side of the Stadium, serving hot food and refreshments.

WHERE TO PARK:
The main car park outside the main stand at Derwent Park can accommodate up to 250 cars on match day. There is also a smaller car park situated at the back of the ground.

TRAVEL:

BY CAR, POSTCODE FOR THE SAT NAV: CA14 2HG
SUGGESTED ROUTE: (118 miles, 2hr 28 min)
Head east on Royd Ings Ave toward Alston Rd.
Turn right onto Alston Rd.
At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Hardings Rd/A650.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A629.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A629.
At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Skipton Rd/A629. Continue to follow A629.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A65.
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on A65.
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on A65.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A65.
At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto the M6 slip road to Penrith/North Lakes.
Merge onto M6.
At junction 40, take the A66 exit to Penrith/Workington/Brough.
At Skirsgill Interchange, take the 1st exit onto A66.
At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on A66.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Keswick Bypass/A66. Continue to follow A66.
At Lamplugh Roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on A66.
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on A66.
At Bridgefoot Roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass/A66.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Stainburn Rd/A66. Continue to follow A66.
Turn right onto Bridge St/A596. Continue to follow A596, going through 1 roundabout.
Continue on A597 to your destination in Workington.

Batley Duo Join

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Keighley Cougars have today completed the addition of Trae O’Sullivan and Brad Hill from the Batley Bulldogs until the end of season.

O’Sullivan, a 21 year old Prop, has experience of League One this season having previously spent a month on loan Hunslet RL back in March.

The former Leeds Rhinos youngster has also previously spent two seasons with the Coventry Bears prior to join the Bulldogs ahead of this season.

Brad Hill, son of Keighley Cougars legend Brendon, is a 21 year old utility forward who joined the Bulldogs ahead of this season from Featherstone Rovers.

Hill is a former Bradford Bulls youngster who moved onto Featherstone Rovers before joining Batley has made 2 appearances for the Bulldogs this season as well as appearing for Oldham in a defeat to Hull KR.

Trae and Brad both provide cover in the front row with Scott Law currently ruled out through injury and doubts of others within the the squad.

We are delighted to welcome Trae and Brad to the Cougars and look forward to seeing them in Red, White and Green.

The Cougars can also announce that Callum Dunne has been released from his contract and has re-joned Halifax based amateur side King’s Cross Park.

Aidan Scully Promoted To First Team

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Head Coach Craig Lingard has promoted Aidan Scully to the first team by awarding him a deal until the end of the 2017 season.

Scully, a utitily most at home in the centres or back row, has caught the eye for the past two seasons with a number of eyecatching performances for Scott Lindsey’s Reserves side.

A strong carrier of the ball with both a hard running and kicking game within his arsenal, Scully has been training along with Gavin Reed with the first team now for a number of weeks and is expected to be named in Craig Lingard’s 19 man squad to face Workington Town this Sunday.

Everyone at Cougar Park would like to congratulate Aidan on his promotion and look forward to seeing him in action in the near future.

The Cougars can also confirm that Scully has been allocated the number 35 jersey.

Trio Suspended Following Disciplinary Hearings

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Keighley Cougars can announce the outcome of Tuesday and Wednesday evening’s disciplinary proceedings.

Josh Tonks, who was dismissed for a 36th minute challenge on Connor Robinson in the defeat to York, has been suspended for 5 games after being found guilty of Grade D Strikes with arm.

As a result, ‘Tonka’ will now not be available for selection until Round Four of the Super Eights on Sunday 20th August.

James Feather submitted an Early Guilty Plea after being charged with a Grade B Headbutt following an incident involving Adma Robinson in the 15th minute of the defeat to York.

Buster’s EGP was accepted by the Disciplinary Panel and has been handed a one game suspension and will miss Sunday’s trip to Workington and will not have an EGP available to him again for 12 months.

Hamish Barnes was charged with Grade B Tripping for an intentional trip on Kieran Moran in the 65th minute of the fixture against York.

Barnes pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found guilty and as a result has been suspended for one game and will miss Sunday’s away fixture at Workington Town.

Brad Nicholson was charged with Grade A Tripping for a reaction trip on Ash Robson in the 47th minute of the defeat to the Knights.

‘Nicho’ pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found guilty by the panel, however, Brad avoided suspension and instead was fined just £75. Barnes and Tonks were both also fined £75 by the RFL.

Josh Lynam was not charged after being reported for Grade A Stamping on Ash Robson in the 31st minute against York.

York’s Kieran Moran was charged with Grade C Dangerous Contact for a crusher tackle on Harry Aaronson which resulted in Moran being sin-binned.

The Knights forward submitted an Early Guilty Plea which was accepted by the Disciplinary Panel and he has now been suspended for 2 matches.

Cougars Fall To Brave Defeat In Cumbria

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Whitehaven 28-22 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

THE Cougars’ hopes off a top-eight League One finish are now clinging by a thread after a narrow loss at in-form Whitehaven.

A second-half spell marred by indiscipline saw Craig Lingard’s side concede three tries which condemned them to defeat.

“Those ten minutes in the second half were the only period of the game where Whitehaven dominated and they scored three quick fire tries,” said Lingard.

“I’m very disappointed, we felt all week that we were going to come up here and get the victory and today I felt we should have got the win.

“Conceding from penalties is massively frustrating and is becoming a reoccurring theme.

“It’s frustrating because at the moment we’re in this position in which the 50:50 decisions are going against us and not the other way so all we want is a fair rub of the green from the officials. But if they give that decision we’ve got to defend that next set.

“It was very disappointing as we put ourselves into a position to win that game and we had got a foothold to become dominant in the game but that ten minute spell came at the wrong time.”

The Cougars got off to the worst possible start as Whitehaven broke the deadlock in just the third minute when powerful forward Dion Aiye broke through a tackle and raced to the line.

Aiden Worthington then had an effort disallowed for offside from the kick.

The visitors drew level through Adam Brook, who – after great work from Josh Tonks and James Feather – threw a lovely dummy to create the space that allowed him to shimmy through and dive over.

Hamish Barnes was then unlucky to not give Keighley the lead as he was dragged into touch by Jesse Joe Parker after Matty Beharrell’s kick to the corner was missed by the opposing wingers.

They did take the lead, however, with their next attacking set as the ball was fed to Brad Nicholson and the prop powered over from close range.

The half finished with a somewhat unsavoury incident as players from both sides exchanged handbags after Barnes was punished for a high tackle, despite only landing on Craig Calvert’s head and not making contact during the initial challenge.

Whitehaven drew level from the very first set in the second half as Dave Thompson outjumped Andy Gabriel in the air from the kick before racing over.

But roles were soon reversed as Keighley regained the lead after Thompson failed to deal with a Beharrell grubber and Gabriel pounced in the corner.

Carl Forster’s side took the lead again following a period of Cougars ill-discipline as Nicholson played at a Steve Roper kick and the half-back was quick to pounce on the free play.

Then, after being placed on a team warning, Aiye put a grubber through the defensive line on the last tackle and full-back Jordan Burns was quickest to pounce for the try.

The hosts extended their lead further when the Cougars failed to deal with a kick on the last and Whitehaven kept the ball alive through a number of hands before Worthington was sent racing behind the uprights.

James Feather’s try five minutes from time threatened a comeback as he buried over from close range but, as against York, it proved too late.

Off to Australia!

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We’re proud to announce that 5 of our reserve players and 2 of our coaches are off to Australia for the student RL world cup this weekend!

The players are Kerian Smith (England) and Luke Walters, Toby Williams, Callum Smithson and Gav Reed (all Scotland).

Nathan Graham (Scotland coach) and Richard Tate (England Assistant) are our coaches who are going out with the players.

Cougars Head To Haven For First Cumbrian Challenge – Whitehaven Preview

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Whitehaven v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 2nd July

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Recreation Ground, Whitehaven

Despite a battling second half performance last Sunday, the Cougars are looking over their shoulder in the battle for a top eight finish ahead of the Super Eights and must do things the hard way as they head to Whitehaven for the first of the Cumbria double header.

LAST TIME OUT:

Leading 19-0 at one point, it appeared plain sailing for Whitehaven but a Doncaster comeback saw the Marras cling on for a 25-20 victory to extend their undefeated run to ten games. Tommy Holland, a brace from Jordan Burns and a drop goal from Steve Roper but Richard Horne’s Doncaster came fighting back only for a Jesse Joe Parker try to put breathing space between the two and seal the two points.

The Cougars fought valiantly in the second half but the damage was done in the first half as they slipped to a 18-25 home defeat to York. Trailing 22-0 at the break and down to 12 men following Josh Tonks dismissal, a Davey Dixon brace as well as tries from Brad Nicholson and Andy Gabriel saw Keighley claw their way back into the game, but it was top big a mountain to climb.

TEAM NEWS:

Whitehaven Player-Coach Carl Forster had to make a number of late checks on players fitness during Thursday evening’s training session but the pair of Elliott Miller and Lewis Brown, who both missed the victory over Doncaster through injury, return from injury  for Sunday’s visit of the Cougars but Glenn Riley is still ruled out.

Craig Lingard will still be without Vinny Finigan (Ankle), Scott Law (Groin) and Ritchie Hawkyard (Facial) through injury and they are joined in the treatment room by Brendon Rawlins (Concussion) and Will Milner (Toe) but Sean Kelly comes into contention following supension. The quartet that have been charged by the RFL Disciplinary this week are available with hearings not taking place until Tuesday evening.

KEY BATTLE:

Whitehaven pose an experienced half back pairing in Paul Crook and Steve Roper who know how to get the job done whatever the cost at this level as shown last season with both being a part of the Rochdale Hornets squad that upset Toulouse to be promoted as League One Champions. They will provide the sternest test to date for Matty Beharrell and his half-back partner.

THE SQUADS:

WHITEHAVEN: Aiye; Brown; Burns; Calvert; Crook; Dalton; Forster; Green; Holland; Holliday; McAvoy; Miller; Newton; Parker; Roper; Shackley; Taylor; Tilley; Worthington.

COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Darville; Dixon; Emmett; Feather; Gabriel; Kelly; Lynam; Milner; Nicholson; Ryder; Sagar; Tonks; Whittel.

THE COACHES:

Whitehaven Player-Coach Carl Forster: “I was just pleased we saw it through against Doncaster and overall I thought we deserved it.

“There were one or two things defensively around the ruck area we needed to look at during the week but, generally, we had played well enough until the last quarter.

“The group are together and the team spirit saw us through again and now we have three more games to look forward to until the end of the regulation season.”

“When I look at where we are now and how things were looking in the pre-season games, it’s been a great turnaround and the players have been magnificent. We just have to keep that going now right the way through to the end of the season.”

Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “We have two tough games coming up in Cumbria but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves after losing to York.”

“We were 22-0 down at half-time and down to 12 men after Josh Tonks was sent-off – and we had played poorly.

“But we weren’t talking about damage limitation at half-time. The aim was to go out and score the tries to win the game. In actual fact, we made a good go of it and our defence, despite our handicap, was great as we didn’t conceded another try.

“We will have a look at the video, which might be embarrassing in the first half for some of our players, but then we will go again at Whitehaven.

“Newcastle went above us after their win on Sunday so we lost ground and need to make amends in Cumbria.”

THE REFEREE:

The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Round Thirteen fixture at Cougar Park is Marcus Griffiths. Sunday’s game will be the second time in the 2017 season that Griffiths has officiated the Cougars with his previous appointment coming back in March as the Cougars fell to a shock 46-22 defeat away to the University of Gloucestershire All Golds.

PREDICTION:

The Cougars top eight aspirations are now teetering on the edge following the disappointing ill-disciplined defeat to the York City Knights last Sunday. Whitehaven are in red hot form and have only been beaten by the Toronto Wolfpack to date in League One and look a very different side to the one that the Cougars put to the sword in pre-season. It will be as tough a test as they come at his level on Sunday for Linners and his men but with the possibilty of players being suspended this coming Tuesday ahead of the trip to Workington, it’s looking like a must win for the Cougars.

19 Man Squad Announcement – Whitehaven

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Head Coach Craig Lingard has this morning announced the 19 man squad to face Whitehaven this Sunday.

Lingard has been forced to make changes to the squad with both Brendon Rawlins (Concussion) and Will Milner (Toe) sustaining injuries playing for the first and reserves side respectively last Sunday.

They join Scott Law (Groin), Vinny Finigan (Ankle) and Ritchie Hawkyard (Facial) in the treatment room.

Sean Kelly comes into the side following the completion of his four match suspension for his dismissal last month against Barrow Raiders.

Liam Darville comes back into contention after recent impressive performances for the reserves whilst the four players charged by the RFL Disciplinary Panel yesterday are available with hearings not taking place until Tuesday.

19 MAN SQUAD TO FACE WHITEHAVEN:
1 – Harry Aaronson
2 – Andy Gabriel
5 – Davey Dixon
7 – Matty Beharrell
9 – James Feather
11 – Josh Lynam
13 – Mike Emmett
14 – Adam Brook
15 – Neil Cherryholme
17 – Nathan Conroy
18 – Josh Tonks
19 – Matthew Bailey
21 – Emmerson Whittel
24 – Liam Darville
25 – Ben Sagar
27 – Sean Kelly
29 – Brad Nicholson
32 – Adam Ryder
34 – Hamish Barnes

Quartet Charged By Disciplinary

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Keighley Cougars can this evening confirm four players have been charged by the RFL Disciplinary Panel following Sunday’s defeat to the York City Knights.

Josh Tonks has been charged with Grade D Strikes with arm following the late high tackle on York’s Connor Robinson that lead to him being dismissed in the 36th minute of Sunday’s game. Tonks does not have an Early Guilty Plea available to him.

This means that Tonks faces a suspension of anywhere between 3 and 5 games.

James ‘Buster’ Feather has been charged with Grade B Headbutt following an incident with York’s Adam Robinson in the 15th minute of Sunday’s defeat. Buster has an Early Guilty Plea available to him.

Brad Nicholson has been charged with Grade A Tripping whilst Hamish Barnes has been charged with Grade B Tripping. Both Brad and Hamish have an Early Guilty Plea available to them.

Grade B means Buster and Hamish both face a suspension of 1-2 games which can be reduced to 0-1 by submitting their EGP’s whilst Brad Nicholson faces a suspension of 1 game, which can be reduced to no suspension should he opt to submit his EGP.

All four cases will be heard by the RFL Disciplinary Panel next Tuesday evening at Red Hall.