Elliott Cosgrove (right) made his long awaited return in Keighley colours , coming through last nights U20’s clash at Fev Rovers, unscathed . The centre, returning after a long spell on the sidelines due to a serious eye injury, put in a tough 80 min stint in an absorbing match at the Big Fellas Stadium .
Featherstone’s U20’s have been in fine form all year , mirroring that of their senior squad in the Championship and were surprised to find themselves 18-16 behind to the visitors after an end to end first 40, spoilt only by some baffling decisions from the Officials that hampered both sides attempts to play flowing rugby .
Matt Bailey’s bone crunching hit on his opposite number in the first tackle of the game gave notice to Rovers that they were in for a tough clash but it was Fev who made the early running , Ben Rushworth giving them the lead, converted by James Glover.
The highlight of the Cougars Championship win on Sunday against the Dons had been a stunning 80m break by prop Andy Shickell and on 9 mins the Cougars Juniors produced a similar moment , Prop Ryan Patchett , on the first of several similar runs of the game , broke clear galloping up the field , he managed to offload to the onrushing Jordan Whippy . Good cover defensive from Fev kept out the centre but keeping field position the Cougar worked the ball across the line courtesy of half backs Coe and Stead back into the hands of Whippy and he made no mistake a second time claiming the Cougar’s first of the night , converted from out wide by Stead.
Both teams continued to have chances . Cosgrove was just held up short for the visitors , and was then involved again his pass looking to put in Darville but the ball was knocked from the full backs hands . At the other end the Keighley defence found themselves under constant bombardment with the back three of Ecclestone , Graham and Moorby along with hooker Jack Lee, playing against his former club, tackling heroically.
A piece of quick thinking from Fev wing Dixon eventually broke the deadlock , stealing the ball after Cougars looked to have dealt with the danger from the kick , but the Cougars countered again , Steads pass found Cosgrove and he put in the supporting Aaron Levy , the sub picking up his 2nd try in 2 games , Steads conversion giving Cougars the lead.
Again Fev came back Nicholson finally going over after sustained pressure on the Keighley line , Brailsford adding the extras , but again Keighley restored the status quo , a ball steal on the home 20 gave back possession to the visitors , Stead scampered away to put in Andy Gabriel and added the touchline conversion for good measure.
Whatever hope the Cougars Players , staff and supporters had of causing an upset unfortunately disappeared rapidly in the second half , when Fev moved up a gear , Teasdale went over early doors from short range to take the lead and then a quick play the ball gave full back Johnson his four pointer .
Worse was to follow when two identical kicks to the wing , failed to be taken by the Cougars defence giving James Glover two simple tries and extending the home lead to 38-18 half way through the second forty.
Patchetts return to the field gave Cougars a much needed lift , another bullocking run down the centre of the park took Cougars into the Fev half ,and excellent interplay from Coe and Darville almost put in Joe Brier , the young winger just being squeezed into touch with inches to the line .
Brier (right) was to have his moment when with 8 mins to go Lee cleverly chose to play on the short side and his pass gave the rookie wing his try ,and Stead kept his 100% record with the boot landing another textbook goal from far out.
Tries for Richardson and a second for Dixon in the dying seconds gave a final score of Fev 48 Cougars 24
Team 1.Liam Darville 2,Joe Brier 3.Jordan Whippy 4. Elliot Cosgrove 5.Andy Gabriel 6. Liam Coe 7.Ben Stead 8. Ryan Patchett 9.Jack Lee 10. Matt Bailey 11.Luke Moorby 12.Charlie Eccleston 13. Sam Graham 14.Aaron Levy 15.Jack Kennedy 16.Henry Walker 17. Dan Connell