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Home pride restored at Cougar Park as Keighley run title-chasers Featherstone close
Buy this photo » Jesse Sheriffe considers his options
Keighley Cougars 12 Featherstone Rovers 24
Jesse Sheriffe’s last-gasp try saw an understrength Coug-ars secure a vital bonus point against high-flying Featherstone at Cougar Park.
Keighley rested Elliot Cosgrove, Sean Hesketh, Scott Law, Danny Jones and Paul White after Wednesday’s defeat at Workington, while Sean Kelly started over long-serving hooker James Feather.
Cougars survived a first-half onslaught from the reigning minor premiers, with their defensive line holding strong to see them only trail 12-0 at the break.
They hit back through Josh Lynam and Scott Leatherbarrow’s conversion, after taking full advantage of Vince Mellars being sent to the bin. But a further two tries from James Lockwood, who scored a hat-trick, then looked to have put the result out of Cougars’ reach.
Player-coach Paul March was then sin-binned for the remainder of the game but Sheriffe’s length of the field score in the final stages takes them four points clear of the relegation zone but four points adrift of the play-offs.
March was happy with the result, saying: “We were pleased with that performance because we defended really well in the first half and dug in and there were massive efforts from everyone out there.
“It was always our plan to change it round after playing Wednesday to keep everybody fresh. It’s been a massive week for us and we’ve still got Halifax coming up.
“The last time we played at Cougar Park it was a bit of an embarrassment to ourselves and we let the fans down and we wanted to change that. Hopefully the fans have gone away proud of the team.”
March also announced the signing of Halifax half-back Paul Handforth ahead of the game against their local rivals on Thursday night.
March added: “There is a merry-go-round with half-backs and obviously we’ve lost Scotty to Batley but I’m looking forward to having Paul here next year.
“We’ll certainly miss Scott because of the skills that he has but he does have a lot to learn and hopefully Paul can bring that experience with him next year which will be great for the club.”
Keighley Cougars: Moss; Jesse Sheriffe, Chandler, Williams, Barnett; March, Leatherbarrow; Shickell, Kelly, Cherryholme, Lynam, Pursglove, Rawlins. Subs: Feather, Patchett, Jode Sheriffe, Sagar.
Featherstone Rovers: Hepworth; Sharp, Mellars, Worthington, Saxton; Kain, Finn; Crossley, Ellis, Bryan, Lockwood, Spears, Dale. Subs: Bussey, Bostock, Barlow, Hardman.
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