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Keighley Cougars have to settle for losing bonus point
Workington Town 25, Keighley Cougars 18
Keighley Cougars’ Kingstone Press Championship play-off hopes were dealt a blow and their relegation fears increased but they went home with a hard-earned losing bonus point at Workington tonight.
Paul March’s side headed to Cumbria for the second time in four days, having claimed a thumping 52-18 win at Whitehaven on Sunday.
It was a re-arranged fixture from earlier in the season and an opportunity to move closer to the top eight.
But the hosts capitalised on two major setbacks for Cougars at a rain-soaked Derwent Park as James Haley and Danny Lawton had to go to hospital after being taken off with injuries.
Yet March’s side refused to throw in the towel and were rewarded with a deserved bonus point thanks to James Feather’s late try.
Cougars began the brighter but both sides were guilty of handling errors during the opening exchanges.
In the 17th minute, March’s team engineered their first attack of note with an excellent 40-20 kick from Scott Leatherbarrow, who will join Batley on a two-year deal from next season.
The tactical manoeuvre so often leads to a try, and three minutes later Cougars’ pressure told when prop Andy Shickell barrelled over the line from close range.
Leatherbarrow added the extras but Workington, buoyed by the inclusion of former Super League stars in Jamie Thackray and Mark Calderwood, gradually assumed control.
But nine minutes before the break, Haley was forced off through injury, and moments later Shaun Briscoe darted through a gap to score.
Brett Carter added the extras, and four minutes later Lawton went off with a leg injury, dealing another blow to the Cougars.
And Workington struck again before the break when Brett Phillips powered over the line, Carter applying the conversion to make it 12-6 at the break.
Three minutes after the restart, the Cumbrians struck again when Carter finished clinically and then added the extras to his try.
A drop goal by Peter Lupton in the 64th minute gave Workington further breathing space, and then Briscoe scored again to put the hosts further out of sight.
There was still time for Gavin Duffy to touch down from Craig Moss’ long pass before Feather went over late on, Leatherbarrow converting both.
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