Keighley Cougars v West Wales Raiders Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 17th June
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
After a second half collapse in South Yorkshire sent the Cougars to defeat in Doncaster, Craig Lingard will be looking for a response from his side with the visit of West Wales Raiders to Cougar Park as the Betfred League One season reaches the halfway mark.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Cougars surrendered a 14 point lead in South Yorkshire to fall to a 29-20 defeat away at Doncaster. Tries from Matthew Bailey and Brad Nicholson either side of a Benn Hardcastle put the travelling Keighley side in the driving seat before two sloppy tries just before the interval allowed Doncaster to get back into the side. Following the interval, the Dons continued to push and fought their way to victory despite a second half effort from Adam Ryder for the Cougars.
West Wales struggles on the field continued as they were defeated 12-48 at home by the Hemel Stags in Llanelli to leave them winless and rooted to the bottom of the Betfred League One table. Harrison Elliott and Phil Cowburn were the two tryscorers on the afternoon for Phil Carleton’s side in a performance otherwise dominated by errors as Sam Baker knocked on in the process of grounding the ball for what would have been a third West Wales four pointer.
Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard welcomes back captain Josh Tonks (Back) after the skipper missed last Sunday’s defeat to Doncaster. Matty Beharrell (Shoulder & Hamstring) is ruled out for 4-6 weeks by his specialist after playing through the pain barrier in South Yorkshire with Matthew Bailey (Hip) rested as a precaution. Ritchie Hawkyard has avoided a ban for the incident that left him on report at the Keepmoat last week with Jose Kenga coming into the 19 man squad.
As has been the case for most of the season, a West Wales Raiders side that plays away from home sees many changes from a West Wales side that plays at home. Sam Baker, Ross Price, Steve Parry and Alan Pope are the four members of last weekend’s matchday 17 that drop out ahead of their long trip north to West Yorkshire with captain and Welsh international Morgan Evans also ruled out. Long term injury doubt Mark Asquith remains on the sidelines for the Raiders.
COUGARS: Aaronson, Conroy, Dixon, Emmett, Gabriel, Griffin, Hallas, Hardcastle, Hawkyard, Kenga, Law, Leeming, Nicholson, Parker, Rawlins, Ryder, Tonks, Whiteley, Wright.
RAIDERS: Boots, Claridge, Cowburn, Davies, Desmond-Walker, Elliott, Haile, Harris, Higgs, Kaye, Kislingbury, McClean, Parker, Silver, Simon, Snook, Stroud, Walker, Williams.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “It’s against York next week where we need to learn from the Doncaster game. If we get into a position to win that, we’ve got to close it out. You have to perform for 80 minutes against the top teams.
“We’ve set the target of keeping a clean sheet against West Wales because we should be winning this game comfortably.
“It’s about staying focused and professional in training before putting in a clinical performance on Sunday.”
West Wales Raiders Head Coach Phil Carleton has yet to comment.
The man in the middle for Sunday’s Betfred League One Round 13 meeting at Cougar Park is Cameron Worsley from Castleford. 19 year old Worsley was the RFL’s 2016 Young Referee of the Year and Sunday marks his first appointment as the man in the middle for a Cougars first team game after being a touch judge for a number of Keighley games over the past two seasons.
Craig Lingard will be looking for a reaction from his side after their performance in the last 50 minutes at Doncaster last weekend and the visit of the League One’s basement club provides the perfect opportunity for that ahead of massive fixtures against York and Whitehaven in the fortnight that follows. However, a professional approach to this game is key for Lingard and his side and they will be looking to put in a performance worthy of them standards come 3pm on Sunday.