Cougars Maul Oxford

Keighley Cougars 70-10 Oxford RL Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport) in association with PT Intensity.

KEIGHLEY Cougars eased to victory over Oxford for the second week in succession to record their third League One victory off the season.

The Cougars ran in thirteen tries on the afternoon as they remained fourth in the early standings with this comprehensive victory.

Assistant Coach Adam Mitchell said: “It was like a training run for us and we knew what to expect from them after playing them last weekend so the focus was on us to be clinical and professional.

“We had a specific game plan which was different to the way we played last week as this week we wanted to get round them instead of going through them and we worked on it in training all week and it paid off.

“We had a few of the fringe players in last week, and they did impress enough to probably credit a start this week too, but we brought back in the experienced boys today.

“Paul Handforth and Ritchie Hawkyard were outstanding, Tiger (Handforth) came back and did a job, scoring a hat-trick but for me Ritchie is absolutely phenomenal for his size and is extremely hard to tackle one-on-one.

“We now move on to the All Golds who are the best of the southern sides in the division, it’s mine and Marchy’s job to prepare the lads well this week in training and make sure come 3pm on Sunday we repeat today’s performance.”

The Cougars took the lead after just three minutes when Ritchie Hawkyard weaved his way through for a great solo try.

Paul March’s side then scored two tries in three minutes with Paul Handforth first offloading under pressure to send Jode Sheriffe crashing over on his return from his 10 month injury layoff before he broke through the Oxford line to send Darren Hawkyard in for the score.

Oxford did get themselves on the scoreboard shortly before the quarter mark when Casey Canterbury turned his way through a tackle from the play the ball to touch down in a carbon copy of his try the previous week.

Handforth continued to be a thorn in the Oxford side and following great work by Vinny Finigan, threw a dummy before getting his outstretched arm over the line.

And it would be Handforth with the assist once more when he sent Darren Hawkyard over for his second after racing through the Oxford line.

Handforth completed his dominant first half with his second off the afternoon as he touched down on the back off breaks from both James Feather and Ross Peltier with the latter providing the assist.

The second half continued the theme off the first as Handforth ran Oxford ragged and bagged himself a hat-trick four minutes into the half as he raced through space to score on the back off a scrum.

On the back off an Ash Lindsay break, it was that man Handforth once again as his kick over the top on the last was fantastically brought down and touched down by Paul White.

Despite temporarily losing Adam Brook to concussion and losing Rikki Sheriffe to a shoulder injury, the Cougars extended the lead further when Brendon Rawlins raced over with a lovely sidestep to round former Keighley full-back James Craven, on dual registration from Batley.

It would be another of the dual registered players in centre Zack McComb who scored the Oxford consolation in the second half, pouncing on Marcus Brooker’s clever grubber into the in goal area.

However, the Cougars blew Oxford away in the game’s final ten minutes with Scott Law powering over from a free play then Ritchie Hawkyard squeezing over for his second, exposing defensive frailties to create himself the room.

Finigan completed the rout with two tries in as many minutes as first picking Brook’s cross-field kick out the air before racing thirty metres to dive over on the back of Ash Lindsay’s break from the restart.

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