MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 14 – 34 Keighley Cougars

Newcastle Thunder were unable to make the most of their rearranged Betfred League 1 fixture against Keighley Cougars on Sunday afternoon, as they fell to a 14-34 loss and missed out on the opportunity to climb higher up the table.

In an aggressive opening, it was all Thunder as they forced errors and indiscipline from the Cougars and enjoyed an extended period of position deep in the Cougars half.

Looking threatening with the ball in hand, they forced a repeat set by tackling Keighley over the try line, but a knock on the next set offered the visitors the chance to relieve the pressure that had been steadily building.

The end of the following set saw the roles revered as Thunder spilled a high ball to give Craig Lingard’s side a handsome attacking positon and one which was converted after the hosts gave away a penalty five meters out.

Resetting the tackle count, it was a simple movement of the ball through the hands and down the line that opened the space for Darrell Griffin to score.

Converted by Benn Hardcastle, the first of five on the day, the lead was doubled five minutes later after another solid attack from the visitors forced a repeat set with More indiscipline gives away territory and Thunder are forced into conceding a goal line dropout of their own, Cougars punished the error with a second try on 12 mins through Ryan Wright

After repelling further waves of pressure, a break through the defence in the middle of the park gave Thunder a half chance that they seemed set to convert, as Tom Shaw hit his straps, but as defenders closed in a moment’s hesitation in putting through a kick for Tee Ritson to chase made it a race that Keighley were able to win.

It however gave Thunder field position from which they again enjoyed an extend period of possession in striking range of the Cougars line, but one that failed to yield a score after impatience at the ruck saw the ball fumbled forward.

It proved to be an inconsequential error thanks to Aaron Ollett when he charged down a kick and earned his side a try under the posts, as he was tackled without the ball whilst attempting to ground and garnered an obstruction penalty that afforded Shaw a simple conversion.

The halfback had the final say of the half too after another penalty gave him the opportunity to reduce the gap to just four points, which he duly took and maintained his fine form from the tee this season.

Half Time – Newcastle Thunder 8 – 12 Keighley Cougars

After enjoying a bright start to the second half, Thunder were a further four points down as Keighely opened the second half scoring through Adam Ryder.

Being stripped of the ball in the tackle, Newcastle then conceded a penalty at the next tackle, which saw the ball spun out to the wing where the big centre was well positioned to break through the defensive line for an unconverted try.

As in the first half, the Cougars used the momentum from their opening try to add another shortly after as they forced the hosts into conceding a number of penalties

Things got fractious on the hour following a high tackle on Ritson with a double sin-binning reducing both teams to twelve men after tempers flared, with a fired up Thunder going on to score on the next set.

Making good yardage on the tackle count and stretching the defence, the hosts created space that allowed Ben Calland to pick an outstanding line to break through for a try converted by Shaw.

Trailing by eight another attacking onslaught saw Thunder force three consecutive repeat sets as they pinned the Cougars deep into their half but again, saw the hosts unable to take any reward for their efforts.

It was that inability that allowed Keighley to seal the game with five minutes remaining as Gabriel rose highest in the contest for a high ball over Thunder’s tryline before adding further gloss with a converted try for Josh Tonks a minute from time.

Full time – Newcastle Thunder 14 – 34 Keighley Cougars

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Mo Agoro, Joe Brown, Aaron Ollett, Ben Calland, Lewis Young, Tom Shaw, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Sam Luckley, Conor Fitzsimmons, Danny Nicklas, Ben Pointer, Harry Aldous, Vincent Rennie, Ryan Lloyd

Try Scorers – Penalty, Calland

Goals- 3/3

Keighley Cougars

Ritchie Hawkyard, Cameron Leeming, Perry Whiteley, Adam Ryder, Andrew Gabriel, Benn Hardcastle, Matty Beharrell, Matthew Bailey, Ryan Wright, Darrell Griffin, Ben Morris, Josh Tonks, Michael Emmett, Scott Law, Nathan Conroy, Josh Lynam, Brad Nicholson

Try Scorers – Griffin, Wright, Ryder, Gabriel (2) Tonks

Goals – Hardcastle 5/6