KEIGHLEY COUGARS v WORKINGTON TOWN – BETFRED LEAGUE 1 ROUND THIRTEEN
SUNDAY 8TH AUGUST 2021 – 3PM KICK OFF
COUGAR PARK – KEIGHLEY
REFEREE – MR MIKE SMAILL (LEIGH)
LAST TIME OUT:
Keighley Cougars registered their first away win for two years with a 20-42 victory against the Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena.
It ended a near two-year wait for a win away from Cougar Park as the Cougars cemented themselves within the play-off positions.
Taylor Prell opened the scoring in the games opening 60 seconds with Rochdale levelling the scoreboard through Will Tate.
However, a clinical finish to the first half saw Rhys Lovegrove’s side take a 22-6 lead into the break.
Tries in quick succession shortly before half-time from Josh Slingsby, Prell, and Mo Agoro giving the visitors the advantage.
A second try from Tate threatened to get the Hornets back into the contest but the Cougars struck back quickly as Agoro rose highest from a Jack Miller kick to take the ball and seal a brace of tries.
The home side again threatened a possible comeback as Joe Taira crashed over but a penalty conversion from Miller was followed up by tries from Aaron Levy and Ben Stead to end the game as a contest and seal the victory.
Rochdale would have the final say on the afternoon however as Dan Nixon dove over in the corner for a consolation effort.
This weekend will mark the first time since early July that Workington Town take to the field, a day where they defeated the West Wales Raiders 66-0 at Derwent Park.
On a comfortable afternoon’s work for Town, Chris Thorman’s side ran in 12 unanswered tries to ease their way to victory to cement themselves into second place in the League One table.
Jake Moore and Blair Marwood both helped themselves to a brace of tries apiece, contributing a third of Workington’s four pointers on the day.
Matty Henson, Rhys Clarke, Ethan Bickerdike, Hanley Dawson, Brad Holroyd, Dec O’Donnell, and Joe Brown all crossed as well as Workington compounded West Wales winless woes so far this season.
Caine Barnes, who was suspended as the result of a shoulder charge he committed during the game, would also contribute to the rout with a try.
Carl Forber converted nine of his twelve attempts on a comfortable afternoon for the Cumbrian outfit.
Head Coach Rhys Lovegrove has made three changes from the squad that defeated Rochdale last week.
Jack Coventry is unavailable for selection and misses out with Spencer Darley and Robert Matamosi dropping out of the squad.
They are replaced by the veteran duo of James Feather and Jake Webster (Ankle), who is named for the first time since late June following injury.
Alix Stephenson (Leg) is also included for the first time this season but both Quentin and Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e are unavailable for selection through Covid-19 protocols.
Wellington Albert (Ankle) and Bobby Darbyshire (Concussion) remain as long-term absentees for Lovegrove.
COUGARS: Agoro; Arnold; Bailey; Desmond-Walker; Feather; Gaylor; Graham; Kesik; Levy; Mika; Miller; Moran; Murrell; Parker; Prell; Santi; Slingsby; Stead; Stephenson; Webster; Wright.
Workington Town Head Coach Chris Thorman names his first squad in five weeks ahead of the journey south to West Yorkshire.
Former Cougar David Weetman, who arrived in Cumbria earlier this week following a spell in the French Elite Championship, goes straight into the squad and could debut at Cougar Park this coming weekend.
There is also a large contingent of players produced through the ranks at community clubs within Cumbria, a true testament to one of the hotbeds of Rugby League as a sport.
Stevie Scholey is ruled out for the rest of the season through a knee injury whilst Caine Barnes is serving a one-match suspension given to him following Workington’s last game against West Wales.
Carl Forber goes into this game needing seven conversions for a 1000 in his distinguished career.
TOWN: Bickerdike; Brown; Clarke; Dawson; Doran; Fitzsimmons; Forber; Henson; Holroyd; Lightowler; Moore; O’Brien; O’Donnell; O’Leary; Postlethwaite; Singleton; Thomson; Weetman; Wellington; Wilson; Young.
VIEW FROM THE SHEDS:
KEIGHLEY COUGARS HEAD COACH RHYS LOVEGROVE:“I’m looking for some continuity in our performances after last weekend.
“We want wins, that goes without saying, but we want the level of performances like we put in against Rochdale on a week in, week out basis.
“Our best performances have been sprinkled through the season, or in patches during games, but we need to put them in every single week.
“We need to start getting some consistency so we can get some wins to build momentum and start climbing higher up the league table.”
Rhys Lovegrove quotes courtesy of Joshua Chapman
WORKINGTON TOWN HEAD COACH CHRIS THORMAN: “I was very proud of them against West Wales.
“The players are buying into the defensive side of the game now.
“Most buy into the offensive side but when it comes to the nitty gritty consistently, defence is the most important element of the game.”
Chris Thorman quotes courtesy of Cumbria Crack
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
The reverse fixture between these two sides took place back in early June as Workington defeated the Cougars 34-20 at Derwent Park.
In a topsy-turvy first half, the Cougars struck first as Josh Slingsby crossed in the corner for his first professional try.
Workington then took the lead after two quickfire tries from both Jake Moore and Brad Holroyd.
Keighley would then comeback into the contest and re-take the lead themselves as Brenden Santi fought his way over the line.
They then extended their lead as Slingsby scored his second off the afternoon on the back of a no-look pass from Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e.
However, a try from Rhys Clarke shortly before half-time gave Workington the lead at the break.
The home side extended their lead further shortly after the restart as Holroyd raced through the defensive line to score his second.
The Cougars would keep in the contest as Taylor Prell powered his way over, but ill-discipline cost them any chance of a comeback.
On the back of two penalties, Caine Barnes and Matty Henson both touched down to seal victory for the Cumbrian outfit.
Tickets are still on sale for Sunday’s game as the Cougars welcome Workington to Cougar Park.
You can still purchase a ticket in advance of attending Cougar Park on Sunday with a pay on the day option available once again upon arrival at the turnstiles.
Supporters will again be able to purchase hot food on the day at the ground with the Hall of Fame bar returning to a normal service for the first time this season which allows supporters to purchase alcohol to take onto the terraces.
To purchase tickets for Sunday’s game, please click HERE
By Joshua Chapman