North Wales Crusaders 14-16 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar) in Association with A1 Stairlifts.
The Cougars hit the road looking for a third consecutive league fixture against the North Wales Crusaders in Wrexham.
A tight affair in the opening forty saw Paul March’s side go into the half time break with a narrow two point advantage.
They opened the scoring when after three repeat sets on the Crusaders try line, Brendon Rawlins offloaded to James Haley in space who walked the ball in for a six point lead.
Despite conceding the first points, North Wales Coach Clive Griffiths had this to say: “It took Keighley eighteen tackles, three back to back sets, to break us down defensively and it’s just frustrating that one point is all we got out of today’s game.”
North Wales took control for the spell which followed the Haley try and got over themselves when Stephen Wild got through a bus sized gap and raced forty metres to cross the whitewash.
Cougars could have extended their lead after Paul White touched down in the corner, however the touch judge on the near side ruled the effort out for a forward pass in the build-up.
The second forty followed the same pattern as the first half with a tight affair being judged on how handled the ball better whilst in possession.
The visitors had the perfect start to the second half as after forcing a knock on, they moved the ball across the park to send Rawlo powering over through three tacklers.
After forcing another knock on, this time under the posts, Jesse Sheriffe got through a gap in the line but Mr Stokes in the middle ruled that Neil Cherryholme had caused an obstruction.
Crusaders pulled the game back to a one score deficit when Craig Ashall managed to squeeze over despite the interests of Danny Lawton.
The Cougars wrapped the game up six minutes from time when Sean Hesketh powered over the North Wales line to make the gap eight points after a failed Danny Jones conversion.
The fantastic effort of the Cougar pack was praised post match by Performance Director, Paul Royston who said: “The pack were simply outstanding today despite being the walking wounded, I had to send Andy Shickell back out with a calf injury which would of ended most players games, so for the lads to fight for this victory was fantastic.”
The walking wounded’s efforts could not go without mention for the fitness team of Jamie Chambers and Adam Mitchell, especially with Shick, Lindsay and Jode Sheriffe playing through the pain barrier in a gruelling game in the sweltering conditions.
There was a nervy finish however as the home side got the gap down to two points after Christiaan Roets ran through behind the line before eventually scoring next to the posts.
Sebastien Martins of the Crusaders was dismissed post match for dissent after he left his frustration boil over to the match officials.
YORKSHIRE TIMES MAN OF THE MATCH – Brendon Rawlins – Rawlo was a fighter throughout the game and showed this with the determination to fight through three tacklers to grab the Cougars second try of the afternoon. His defensive efforts were as equally outstanding as he helped keep a Crusaders onslaught in the last five at bay.
COUGARS: Jesse Sheriffe, Graham, Lawton, Haley, White, Jones, Handforth, Shickell, Haigh, Hesketh, Lynam, Rawlins, Lindsay. Interchanges: Feather, Jode Sheriffe, Sagar, Cherryholme.
CRUSADERS: Johnson, Reardon, Bannister, Roets, Massam, Dallimore, K Ashall, Hudson, Offerdahl, Middlehurst, Wild, C Ashall. Interchanges: Adamson, Smith, Griffiths, Martins.