Keighley Cougars Under 20’s 18-26 Featherstone Rovers U20’s Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
On the back of a tremendous victory away at the North East Thunder two weeks previous, there was to be no repeat for the young Cougars against Featherstone.
However, the Cougars were never really out of the tie until the final five minutes when the Rovers punished lacklustre defending with two tries in two minutes.
Nathan Darby first broke through a tackle to walk the ball in under the posts to end the game as a contest before from the restart, Fev broke down the field to send Lewis Price over to wrap the game up.
The poor finish matched a nine minute first half spell in which the visitors broke the deadlock before racing into a sixteen point lead.
Price, whose try ended the game, also crossed to begin the scoring after ten minutes when he was the beneficiary of a defensive line gap taken advantage of by Gavin Bennion.
Kyran Johnson added his name to the score sheet minutes later after he crossed next to the posts to take the lead to ten points after a lovely break by scrum half Zak Snellgrove.
The nine minute mauling was concluded after Luke Teasdale put a lovely grubber kick behind the line before racing through to touch the ball down himself.
The Cougars managed to cut the gap between the two sides to six points as they headed into the half time interval.
Andy Gabriel raced in to score in the corner after a lovely cross field pass move was concluded when the killer ball to Gabriel was put on a plate by full back Liam Darville.
And on the hooter, a Rovers error was penalised as Charlie Eccleston, chosen as Man of the Match, raced seventy metres before offloading to Sean Kelly who managed to avoid the interests of two Featherstone chasers to cross the whitewash.
After a slow beginning to the second forty, the gap between the two was down to just two points as Joe Brier grabbed the first of a brace as he got in at the corner after waltzing through an attempted tackle.
The Rovers restored a distance between the sides when Brad Nicholson collected the ball and powered through a four man tackle to get the ball down on the line.
Then, six minutes later Callum Stewart drove through the worsening conditions to swerve his way in over the line to what seemed to have put the game beyond Keighley’s grasps.
Brier then kept the faint hopes alive as he collected a George Hulme pass and throw the dummy to get himself over near to the left hand corner yet again prior to the Rovers killing the hosts off with the two minute salvo.
COUGARS: Darville, Gabriel, Connell, Levy, Brier, Kelly, Stead, Walker, Hulme, Kennedy, Watson, Eccleston, Graham. Interchanges: Gregory, Crabb, Kinnard, Stott (Not Used).
ROVERS: Johnson, Potter, Glover, Price, Dixon, Richardson, Snellgrove, Darby, Teasdale, Bennion, Gee, Walmsley, Stewart. Interchanges (All Used): Day, Coventry, Robinson, Nicholson.