Keighley Cougars 48-6 Rochdale Hornets Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar) in association with A1 Stairlifts.
A Paul Handforth super show carried the Keighley Cougars to an impressive victory which condemned Rochdale to an eight consecutive defeat.
This despite a dull first half in which Danny Jones was taken off with a hamstring injury after just eight minutes, an injury which rules the Welsh international out of Thursday’s derby at former club Halifax.
Speaking following the game, Cougars Performance Director Paul Royston told the media: “Well, he (Danny Jones) has been outstanding this year, so it’s a really massive loss when a player like Jonesy has to come off and we looked for an immediate response by the lads and re-organise and I thought we responded really, really well.”
Tiger got the score to break the deadlock ten minutes later, taking Buster’s pass out of dummy half and flying through a gap to score the opening try.
After Paul White was narrowly denied by a great covering tackle, moments before the hooter, James Haley grubber kicked behind and after a wild flailing attempted clearance by Sheridan, the centre touched down his own effort to take a ten point lead into half time.
The second half was a completely different story as Keighley ran riot, scoring seven tries to take them on to the comfortable victory.
The Cougars first set of the second half brought the first try when Handforth kicked into space and Danny Lawton won the foot race against the veteran Stuart Littler to get the score.
Five minutes later, that man Handforth was providing the assist again when his offload out of the tackle was collected and turned into another four points by the onrushing Josh Lynam.
The Hornets looked defeated and this showed as they allowed Paul to jog through and send the casual offload to James Craven who walked the ball over from fifteen metres.
The visiting team did managed to avoid being nilled when following a brilliant break down the left flank, Ryan Millard collected the offload out the tackle and raced in underneath the sticks.
This didn’t deter the Cougars attacking wise and another pass out of the dummy half position, and another by Buster, found itself in the hands of Paul White who dived in the corner to make out for his missed opportunity in the first half.
Craven grabbed his second of the afternoon with the following score, in similar fashion to his first, he took an offload from the Man of the Match and walked the ball in from fifteen metres.
The Paul Handforth masterclass continued in all its glory as his grubber kick went behind the Rochdale line and Haley touched down his second of the afternoon after getting to the ball quicker than teammate Ben Sagar.
And in fitting fashion, there was time for a second try from the former Featherstone, Batley & Halifax scrum half when he somehow managed to score despite being in the hands of four visiting tacklers.
Yorkshire Times Man of the Match – Paul Handforth – Tiger was simply outstanding from minute one to minute eighty. His masterful performance despite the early exit of partner in crime Danny Jones showed as he had a hand in all nine of Cougars tries, grabbing two himself.
COUGARS: Craven, Barnett, Lawton, Haley, White, Jones, Handforth, Rawlins, Feather, Hesketh, Lynam, Pursglove, Lindsay. Interchanges: Jode Sheriffe, Sagar, Cherryholme, Haigh.
HORNETS: English, Trumper, Davies, Littler, Sheridan, Wheeler, Millard, Walker, Crook, Thompson, Baines, Llewellyn, Greenwood. Interchanges: Cookson, Case, McClurg, Beaumont.