Keighley Cougars v Coventry Bears Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 6th May
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
Defeat last Sunday at the hands of Whitehaven was followed up with a week of unrest off the field, but all attentions are now firmly on the pitch as Coventry Bears visit Cougar Park this Sunday in Round Nine of the Betfred League One season.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Cougars fell to a disappointing 24-30 home defeat to Whitehaven at Cougar Park. After falling 18-0 inside the first 11 minutes of the game at Cougar Park, the Cougars rallied and only trailed by 8 points at half-time thanks to scores from Josh Lynam and Matty Beharrell. However, another slow start in the second-half proved too much of a mountain to climb despite tries from Harry Aaronson and Cameron Leeming.
Coventry pushed the London Skolars all the way at the Butts Park Arena but fell to a 20-28 home defeat. Despite conceding first, tries from Dante Morley-Samuels, Kameron Pearce-Paul and Hayden Freeman sent the Bears into the interval with a slender lead. However, the Skolars turned the game around in the second-half to take the points despite a second try from Morley-Samuels.
Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard will be without Darrell Griffin (Quad) who has been ruled out for 3 weeks with the injury that forced him from the field against Whitehaven. Both Josh Lynam (Arm) and Hamish Barnes (Shoulder) are set to be long term injuries for Lingard along with Emmerson Whittel (Knee) but both Harvey Hallas (Shoulder) and Trae O’Sullivan (Head) are now back in full training.
The Bears bring Rhys Gant and Jacob Ogden into their 19 man squad with both in line to make their debuts for the Midlands side at Cougar Park. Former Cougars half Ben Stead is also included despite suffering a nasty head wound that required a large number of staples but fellow half Liam Rice-Wilson drops out of the side that fell short last weekend to the Skolars.
The Bears biggest threat comes through their half-back pairing of Wales international Paul Emanuelli and former Cougars scrum-half Ben Stead with the duo allowing a well drilled unit to play off them. It will provide a test for Benn Hardcastle and Matty Beharrell and should be an entertaining battle whichever side has ball in hand throughout the 80 minutes.
COUGARS: Aaronson, Bailey, Beharrell, Conroy, Dixon, Emmett, Gabriel, Hallas, Hardcastle, Hawkyard, Law, Leeming, Nicholson, Parker, Rawlins, Ryder, Tonks, Whiteley, Wright.
BEARS: Aldred, Bass, Bateman, Emanuelli, Freeman, Gant, Geurtjens, Gover, Hughes, Lloyd-Jones, Lord, Mason, Morley-Samuels, Ogden, Pearce-Paul, Stead, Thomas, Vitalini, Williams.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “Coventry Bears are not in the same ballpark as West Wales Raiders. They have some good young players. They will be well-drilled.
“They are a team we should be beating, but no-one should be expecting us to score 50 or 60 points. We have got to be patient and grind one out.
“There will be no excuses for us if we don’t win against Coventry.
“We need to have more focus in games. We need to start a bit better too.
“We are starting from square one and trying to build momentum. The Doncaster game is the next time we play against a top end team. We had targeted five successive wins but that has gone after we lost to Whitehaven. We have to go again now.”
Coventry Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang has yet to comment.
The man in the middle for the visit of Coventry Bears to Cougar Park this Sunday in Round 9 of the Betfred League One season is Michael Mannifield from Huddersfield. A regular whistle-blower in the past to the Cougars Reserves in the Reserves Championship, this will be Mr Mannifield’s first time refereeing the Cougars first-team in competitive action.
Craig Lingard will be looking for a reaction, and more importantly, a fast start from his side this Sunday after a defeat at the hands of Whitehaven last time out. But, Linners knows that Coventry pose a real threat and are no pushovers so will have his side well on their guard come the first whistle tomorrow afternoon at Cougar Park.