Barrow Raiders 48-14 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
COUGARS suffered a heavy defeat at Barrow Raiders after a lacklustre display in Cumbria.
An error-strewn opening quarter led to a difficult afternoon for the Cougars as Barrow, clear favourites alongside Toronto in League One this season, punished a sloppy display unseen so far under Craig Lingard’s tenure.
Lingard said: “To put it simply, the first half performance was unacceptable.
“Rugby League is a simple game and if you’re not prepared to tackle as hard as someone is going to run at you then you’re going to lose.
“A lot of today was depending on getting off your line quickly and putting your shoulder through somebody or running the ball in hard and we simply didn’t do it in the first half.
“Indiscipline crept in but when you’re defending set after set like we did then you become tired physically and then it becomes mental and leads to making poor decisions.
“It’s a tough lesson but I said at the start of the season that this is a re-building year and expectations may have risen higher than they should be and this was a real wake up call for some of the guys in our dressing rooms.”
Barrow broke the deadlock through Andy Litherland. Keighley were penalised for not standing square and Ryan Fieldhouse got a looping offload out of the tackle to the wing for Litherland to cross.
Jamie Dallimore, a notorious thorn in the Cougars paw, set up Barrow’s second try as he opened up space in the line to send Joe Bullock marauding over from close range.
Cougars were proving to be their own worst enemies and fell further behind when the defence froze on the spot after referee called the zero tackle, allowing Dallimore the opportunity to weave his way through to score.
Barrow had the game by the scruff of the neck and, after forcing the knock-on, inflicted further damage when Jarrad Stack powered his way over from three metres.
Keighley managed to hold Barrow out from further scores until, on the hooter, Dan Abram squeezed over from Fieldhouse’s play-the-ball to send Raiders into the interval with a 30-point advantage.
Cougars finally had a stroke of luck when Bullock knocked on from the kick-off and, from the resulting scrum, Sean Kelly was held up before Harry Aaronson sent Josh Casey over.
Indiscipline slowly crept back into the Cougars game and resulted in Casey being sin-binned for serious foul play after a wreckless challenge on Bullock after the visitors were penalised on the Barrow line.
A scrum followed, and Litherland took the offload out of the ruck and slid his way over the line for his second try of the afternoon.
Adam Ryder inspired the Cougars following his introduction off the bench and was quick to reply at the other end when he crossed from close range after the visitors were awarded a penalty on the line for holding in the tackle.
The game was quickly developing into an end-to-end affair and Luke Cresswell thought he was over for the Raiders but Dallimore’s pass was deemed forward by the official.
Barrow did cross again though when Abram returned a Beharrell kick half the length of the field before the ball was worked across to the right wing, where Tom Loxham finished the move by diving in the corner.
Keighley thought they had the final say as they worked the ball across to the left from a scrum for Callum Dunne to race over, but Shane Toal had other ideas as he crossed next to the posts after great work from Brad Marwood to provide the assist.