Cougars hit Northern heights to qualify

Keighley News: Ollie Pursglove is tackled against Workington. Picture by Charlie Perry Ollie Pursglove is tackled against Workington. Picture by Charlie Perry

Keighley Cougars 38, Workington 10

Cougars qualified for the knock-out stages of the Northern Rail Cup after their third successive win.

The Cougar Park victory follows on from triumphs against Blackpool and Whitehaven, and means the pressure is off ahead of their final group game at Barrow.

After a strong start, Cougars were forced to cope with the loss of scrum half Danny Jones, taken off as a precautionary measure in the opening quarter with an elbow injury.

And although Workington pushed them hard, solid defence and good composure ensured Barry Eaton’s side clinched two vital points.

“I’m a happy bunny,” said head coach Eaton.

“We didn’t play fantastically well after a good first 20 minutes but we got the job done.

“The opening quarter was the best we’ve played for a long time but then we gave away too many penalties and invited pressure.

“We can learn some lessons because when things are going your way, teams will stand up and be counted.

“But we also lost Danny Jones, so we had to restructure because he’s our key pivot and playmaker.

“That will probably be a good thing for the rest of the squad though because he may not always be there, so we need to know how to play without him.”

Cougars led 26-0 at half-time before comfortably seeing out victory, as Jonny Presley scored a hat-trick, Ben Sagar added two tries and Dan Belcher and Brendon Raw-lins added one apiece.

Eaton has been delighted with his players’ attitude, especially as they still have the uncertainty of a points deduction for going into administration hanging over their heads.

He said: “The attitude of the players and the fans has been fantastic. We want to know what’s happening with the points deduction but, until then, everyone has focused on the task at hand.

“They have really impressed me.”

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