Paul March needs to lift Keighley Cougars morale before Halifax derby

Keighley News: James Feather is congratulated after scoring for Keighley Couigars against Whitehaven. Picture: Charlie Perry James Feather is congratulated after scoring for Keighley Couigars against Whitehaven. Picture: Charlie Perry

Keighley Cougars 12, Whitehaven 16

Keighley Cougars were condemned to their second consecutive Kingstone Press Championship defeat today, despite a battling performance against Whitehaven.

Haven were able to call upon St Helens duo Ade Gardner and Anthony Walker, while the Cougars side had Castleford forwards Jake Emmit and Charlie Martin featuring.

However, Cougars' head coach Paul March admitted that his team are in low spirits going into the Halifax game after another setback.

“Obviously there are some positives but a lot of negatives there as well,” said March.

“We just came up with crucial errors at crucial times. Defensively we were better than we were against Batley and attitude-wise we were okay, but we can’t win ball games if we don’t respect the ball.

“Those positives are something we have to take on board as well because this group is low on confidence now after last week and I’ll need to try and build that going forward into the Halifax game."

Keighley created all of the early pressure but, after more than 20 minutes camped on the visitors' line, that pressure came to nothing, and it cost them.

On the back of a penalty and some good work out wide from both Jamie Rooney and Cain Southernwood in the previous tackle, Lee Patterson was able to barge his way over from first receiver.

Cougars were then caught napping from the first set after the kick-off as Gardner burst through from halfway down the left and fed Southernwood through the middle. Rooney added the extras to put Whitehaven 10-0 in front.

The home side were able to strike back four minutes into the second half when Ryan Smith scooted his way over from dummy half, Scott Leatherbarrow adding the conversion to reduce the deficit to four.

However, Keighley's momentum from that score failed to bear fruit, and once again they were made to pay when Rooney’s deft stab in goal was pounced on by full back Neil Thorman. Rooney tagged on the extras to regain their ten-point lead.

But that did not last long as James Feather managed to get a score moments later.

Leatherbarrow kicked the goal but Haven managed to hold out for the win.

Keighley Cougars: White; Barnett, Lawton, Williams, Duffy; March, Leatherbarrow; Hesketh, Feather, Shickell, Martin, Sagar. Subs: Emmit, Smith, Law, Shepherd.

Whitehaven: Thorman; Fleming, McAvoy, Parker, Gardner; Rooney, Southernwood; Jackson, Newton, Martins, Clark, Wilson, Patterson. Subs: Sice, Houghton, Cameron, Walker.

Attendance: 841

Referee: George Stokes

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