Oldham RLFC 32-18 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars fell to a defeat on the road at Oldham Roughyeds after failing to recover from a slow start to the game.
Oldham scored three tries in the opening ten minutes to set themselves up for the win.
And the performance of his side left Craig Lingard understandably frustrated as did the performance of the officials.
“It was a real hit and miss performance today and we’ve thrown away the two points really,” admitted Lingard.
“We put ourselves into a real difficult position with our start to the game and left ourselves with a mountain to climb.
“But once we got into the arm wrestle and started doing the things we’ve been working on all week in training, we got ourselves into the game.
“Things started to change when we got 50% off the ball because we were in a good position and we were the fitter, stronger and probably smarter team once we started to get possession.
“The lads were all energised and buzzed up at half-time but then we did a similar thing in the second half where we just started slow and gave too much possession to Oldham.
“I’m left scratching my head though about the official and where he got some of his decisions from today, we were on the end of a 5-0 penalty count in the second half until the last minute when he gives us two soft penalties.
“I can complain all I want to referee’s commissioner Steve Pressley because you can do that every week but when players perform badly they get dropped, when coaches perform badly they get sacked but referee’s get another game the week after.”
They opened the scoring after the ball was worked across to Dave Eccleston on the right wing on the back of a penalty.
Lee Kershaw then cut inside to race round on his Oldham debut, although the officials seemingly missed an obstruction on Ryan Wright in the build-up.
Kershaw scored his second just moments later after Kieran Gill exposed space in the defensive line.
The Cougars would score 14 unanswered points though to go into the interval trailing by only two points.
Brad Nicholson powered his way over first after being held out just short moments before.
Matty Beharrell and Benn Hardcastle would then show superb passing, with balls flowing through hands to Josh Tonks, who stormed through to the line.
Hardcastle would then take the two points on offer after Lingard made the call with less than a minute on the clock.
The first score of the second half went to Oldham after Andy Gabriel was contentiously penalised for tackling a man without the ball and from this, Gill scored after the home side found numbers on the overlap.
Paul Crook then took the two on offer from a penalty that resulted from a dropout despite Gabriel being tackled in the air in the in-goal area.
Cougars would not go down without a fight and got back into the game through Adam Ryder, as the centre raced through to cross from 20 metres out.
Tonks was then placed on report for a dangerous challenge, after him and debutant Darrell Griffin ended Adam Neal’s afternoon.
Liam Bent scored the afternoon’s final try as he crossed from close range after Gareth Owen had sold the Keighley defence a superb dummy.
Crook took another two points after Keighley were penalised for ripping the ball out in the tackle.
The game would end on a comedic note though as Kershaw spectacularly blew his hat-trick by incorrectly grounding the ball after breaking 85 metres to the line.