Keighley Cougars 6 v 54 Bradford Bulls (Betfred League One)
Bradford Bulls arrived at Cougar Park this weekend to take on local rivals Keighley Cougar for the first time in a competitive league fixture in forty-two years, the last fixture between the two clubs was on Good Friday 1976.
Cougars, got the game underway and despite holding the Bulls for the first five minutes it proved to be a very difficult day for Craig Lingard squad. It got worst for the Cougars on five minutes when they were reduced to 12 men after Matty Beharrell was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Elliot Minchella.
Despite the home side holding strong, the visitors started to take advantage of the extra man and Minchella scored the first try of the after Joe Keyes broke through the Cougars line. The pressure continued as former Cougar Ross Peltier managed to crawl his way over the line from close range to increase the Bulls advantage.
The visitors were over again minutes later as Brandon Pickersgill found his way through the Cougars line to set up debutant George Flanagan. Joe Keyes then added another two points to the scoreboard shortly before the half-time interval after the home side were penalised for not standing square at the play the ball.
The second-half was all Bradford as John Kear’s side turned the screw to really rub salt into the wounds. Joe Keyes dove over just 3 minutes into the second forty after cutting through the Keighley defence to get to the line.
The Cougars were now chasing the game and took a risk that didn’t pay off as a quick offload was intercepted by Dalton Grant, the winger then raced ninety metres to score another try which Joe Keyes converted to increase the visitors lead.
Craig Lingard side avoided being nilled on fifty-five minutes, when Nicholson side-stepped a tackle before stretching for the line and collecting the Cougars first try of the match. Hardcastle converted for an extra two points which were the only points the home side picked up in the whole game.
Bradford Bulls then ran in three quick-fire tries to extend their lead further, the first of which saw Minchella seal his double as he crossed the line from close range. Flanagan then scored a second himself, showing great ball handling skills to avoid losing possession over the line and touching down cleanly.
Sam Hallas then completed the trio of quick tries as he burrowed his way in underneath four defenders beneath the uprights, which was again converted by Joe Keyes who made some excellent kicks during the game.
In the final minute, it was former Cougars reserve Ethan Ryan who won an aerial battle with Hamish Barnes before racing thirty metres unchallenged to score the final try of the afternoon on the sound of the full-time hooter.
Craig Lingard, will now take his side to face York City Knights at Bootham Crescent on the 25th March 2018, as they look to get back to winning ways and work their way up the Betfred League table.
Speaking after the match Craig Lingard said, “Sometimes in sport you have to hold your hands up and say a team has outperformed yours and that’s what Bradford did today, it’s a big derby game and you want the lads to go out onto the field and put in a performance and it simply didn’t happen.
I don’t need to ask the players any serious questions because they’re asking themselves the same questions and they are tough questions that need answering. For me as the coach, if I don’t give the players the information about the opposition or prepare them properly then I have to put my hands up and say I didn’t prepare the team right. But I gave the players all the information and they had a really good week in training and prepared themselves properly which is a real concern given the performance.
The lads might not have a week off now ahead of the York fixture they might be playing for the reserves on Wednesday evening against Halifax. We need to get back out on the park as soon as possible and if that means we have to bash each other about in training then we will, however I’m considering putting everyone out in the reserves and that is something I need to discuss with the coaching staff.”
Keighley Cougars – Hawkyard, Aaronson, Barnes, Ryder, Gabriel, Hardcastle, Beharrell, Law, Lumb, Bailey, Nicholson, Tonks, Emmett (Subs) Conroy, Rawlins, Hallas, Tahraoui
Bradford Bulls – McNally, Grant, Gibson, Smith, Ryan, Keyes, Pickersgill, Bustin, Halles, Crossley, Garside, Minchella, Milton (Subs) Chisholm, Peltier, Wood, Flanagan
Tries – (Keighley Cougars) Nicholson (Bradford Bulls) Minchella (2), Peltier, Keyes, Flanagan (2), Grant, Hallas, Ryan
Goals – (Keighley Cougars) Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls) Keyes (9)
Attendance – 2,912