Whitehaven 36-4 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars’ impressive start to the Super Eights was brought to a screeching halt as they slumped to a 36-4 defeat on the road at Whitehaven.
The defeat was Craig Lingard’s sides first of the Super Eights campaign and the Cougars Coach couldn’t hide his anger and frustration following the game.
“I have to apologise to the supporters who come up to watch today because that performance simply wasn’t us,” said Lingard.
“We were off in every single department, we couldn’t generate any ruck speed and defensively we were weak most of the time.
“We didn’t control the game today and you get fatigue when you don’t control games and fatigue kicks in when you turn over cheap ball and give the opposition plenty ball in hand like we did so we contributed to our own fatigue.
“The only positive I can take is that we didn’t get beat by a bigger scoreline.
“But we’ve got to hope it’s a bit of a blip on the back of the last five performances we’ve had and we get back onto the horse next week.”
Whitehaven put the first points on the scoreboard in the seventh minute when – after the Cougars were penalised near to their own posts – Paul Crook took the two points on offer.
Dave Thompson thought he had the afternoon’s first four pointer shortly after, but his effort in the corner was ruled out for a forward pass in the build-up.
The home side did score the game’s first try though. On the back of a scrum, Papua New Guinea international Jesse Joe Parker found a gap in the defensive line and stretched his arm over the line.
Crook then converted his second penalty when the Cougars were penalised for crossing in front of their own sticks.
It got worse for the visitors three minutes later as, following a scrum, Connor Holliday strolled his way through underneath the uprights.
Keighley were proving to be their own worst enemies and, after Davey Dixon bombed a pass from Hamish Barnes on the line, Thompson raced the length of the field to score from the resulting free play.
The Cougars’ afternoon was summed up early in the second half by a Matty Beharrell kick to touch that went dead behind the posts.
Whitehaven player-coach Carl Forster was next to score, powering his way over from close range and turning through a tackle in the process.
Lingard’s side saved themselves the embarrassment of being nilled however.
Andy Gabriel dived over acrobatically in the corner moments after Dixon had an effort ruled out for a forward pass down the opposite wing.
It was brief respite though as, despite Mike Emmett being left irate at a forward pass in the build-up, the referee awarded Jordan Burns with a try after consulting with his touch judge.
The hosts continued to turn the screw and extended their lead with eight minutes remaining – Karl Olstrum breaking through and shrugging off Ritchie Hawkyard to cut inside and dive over.
Things threatened to boil over in the latter stages as the touch judge entered the pitch twice in quick succession for a late shot and shoulder charge on Emmett.
And in the game’s final minute it reached boiling point as the sides exchanged blows in back play before the hooter signalled a 36-4 defeat for the Cougars.