Keighley Cougars 92-6 Oxford RL Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
COUGARS secured their place in the League One Super Eights with a 92-6 home routing of Oxford.
Craig Lingard watched his side run in sixteen tries in a victory that backed up the second half performance at Workington and equalled the club’s biggest ever home win.
“It took us the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game to get into it as we only completed 6 out of our first 11 sets and coughed up to much possession but that’s just me being critical,” said Lingard.
“Other than that it was a really professional performance and it’s pleasing especially as the lads have that belief in themselves.
“We’ve been talking all week in training about the form that we’re showing and even though we didn’t get the result at Whitehaven and had to come back to draw at Workington the performances were there.
“The boys have really taken that on board going into this final regular season game and now going into the Super Eights and they are really confident and pleased with how they’re going.”
Keighley got off to the worst possible start as Oxford earned consecutive sets from a scrum and then a dropout before opening the scoring as Tommy Newbould raced over in the corner.
Parity was soon restored however as James Feather broke the line and drew in the full back before offloading to send Mike Emmett in under the uprights.
Emmerson Whittel had to be carried from the field after sustaining an ankle injury, but the Cougars took the lead for the first time when Brendon Rawlins fended off a couple of tacklers to crash over.
Feather, who had earlier been the provider, turned scorer as he noticed a gap in the defensive line and raced through to squeeze home next to the posts.
Oxford completely crumbled in the final ten minutes of the half as they conceded four quickfire tries.
Hamish Barnes first somehow managed to ground the ball despite being wrapped up by three Oxford defenders.
From the resulting kick-off, Keighley worked up the field and forced an error, and from the resulting free play, Brad Nicholson was sent strolling over the line.
Adam Ryder ran through the full-back to dive over before Barnes scored his second on the hooter after some woeful visiting defence.
Cougars started the second half in the same scoring vain. In the 42nd minute, Matty Beharrell shimmied between two onrushing defenders to send Nicholson walking to the line to seal his brace.
Next, Josh Lynam extended the arrears, finishing off a lovely flowing move after Davey Dixon and then Barnes broke down the right wing.
The game fell into a ten minute lull but that all changed when Lynam powered his way over for a second after stepping around two Oxford defenders.
The tries kept coming as Ritchie Hawkyard marked his first home appearance since April with a try, racing round behind the sticks unchallenged.
Barnes doubled his tally for the afternoon with two tries in as many minutes with Harry Aaronson then getting in on the act, sidestepping his way through the line to cross.
Hawkyard scored his second of the game when he fought through a tackle to squeeze his way over the line with Aaronson racing the length of the field for his second.