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Defeat not critical as Keighley Cougars beat drop
Barrow Raiders 24 Keighley Cougars 14
Cougars survived relegation from the Kingstone Press Championship despite a slender defeat at fellow strugglers Barrow today.
On a dramatic day at Craven Park, the Cumbrians hosts eked out the win they needed to beat the drop as York City Knights and Hunslet Hawks fell through the trapdoor.
Player coach Paul March, who revealed Andy Shickell and Ben Sagar have become the latest players to sign new deals, at least saw his side pick up a bonus point.
He said: “Obviously it’s a relief that we are safe but we wanted to come here and get a win.
“People from Keighley came up in their numbers because it was a big game and it’s a pity we couldn’t do that for them.
“It’s been a rollercoaster this season – some good and bad times – but we’re still in the Championship so it’s onwards and upwards.”
It would have taken a calamitous sequence of results to relegate Cougars, who finished the season in 11th place, but Barrow needed to win and it showed in their performance.
The Raiders led in the 17th minute when Dan Toal broke Cougars’ line and sent Nathan Mossop scampering under the posts for a try which Kurt Haggerty converted.
Eight minutes later, Liam Campbell did superbly well to break from deep before showing intelligence to send Adam Clay clear for a second home try which went unconverted.
Cougars gradually steadied themselves and hit back in the 25th minute when Brendon Rawlins powered over the line and the departing Scott Leatherbarrow added the extras.
Seven minutes before the break, Max Wiper touched down from Clay’s assist but the visitors hit back again when centre Elliott Cosgrove finished superbly out wide to make it 16-10 at the break.
Haggerty booted a penalty to extend Barrow’s lead and in the 67th minute Mossop scooted over from dummy half.
Cougars then fashioned a fine sequence which led to Ollie Pursglove going over and securing a bonus point.
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