Keighley Cougars 98-6 Coventry Bears Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars stormed back to winning ways as they posted a record 98-6 home victory against the Coventry Bears.
Despite the off-field uncertainty that dominated the build-up to the game following the announcement that Chairman Gary Fawcett was to leave the club, Craig Lingard was left ecstatic as he team turned attentions onto the field to run in 17 tries.
“We’ve got some really good players in terms of speed and agility and the hot weather and dry track suited us,” said Lingard.
“We’re not going to hide from the fact that it’s been a difficult week with the announcement that was made on Wednesday so we haven’t had the greatest preparation.
“I do a lot of video reviewing and I watched three Coventry games to pick up on the patterns and similarities in their play and because of that we knew the game was going to be won down the middle and our middles were outstanding.
“The middles really got us on the front foot and from there we just keep piercing through.
“I feel a bit for Tom Tsang and Coventry because they’re a good footballing side and this result today is an anomaly but it was more about how we played rather than how Coventry played.
“But with everything that’s going on off the field as a coaching staff all we can do is keep preparing as normal and we now go into the North Wales game looking to keep up this performance level and climb the league table.”
The Cougars came out firing when Benn Hardcastle opened the scoring from a Harry Aaronson grubber.
Coventry did briefly level the scores when full-back Rhys Gant avoided a tackle to race to the line.
But from this moment on it was all Keighley and they took the lead once more as Matthew Bailey showed great determination to force his way over the line.
From the restart, the Bears gave a penalty away from which the Cougars went down the field and Adam Ryder powered his way through.
Harry Aaronson then grabbed a quick-fire brace, first breaking the line and racing 30 metres to score.
This was before an outrageous effort that saw the winger take flight to collect the ball and touch it down from a Hardcastle kick despite appearing to be falling into touch from the moment he left the ground.
Andy Gabriel added his name to the scoresheet by keeping on his toes to break a tackle and race over.
Josh Tonks scored on the hooter, breaking the line and racing 40 metres to touch down in the corner.
Lingard’s side started the second-half in similar style with three tries in the opening seven minutes.
Dan Parker took less than 60 seconds from the restart to race over to mark his Cougars debut with a try.
Ryder scores his second after handing off a defender to get over in the corner.
Scott Law turned from a prop to a full-back, breaking the line and going 50 metres to dive over next to the uprights.
Brad Nicholson got in on the act, touching down after coming out on top in a game of cat and mouse with the Coventry full-back.
Ryder sealed his hat-trick before Ritchie Hawkyard became the tenth different Cougars scorer as he skipped his way over.
Matty Beharrell grabbed himself a try as he managed to squeeze over from close range with Gabriel sealing his brace as he broke through.
Brendon Rawlins completed the rout and broke the record with two tries in two minutes after being denied by a forward pass moments earlier.