Keighley Cougars hope to cash in at Widnes Vikings

Keighley News: Danny Lawton goes on the attack for Cougars in their win at Swinton Danny Lawton goes on the attack for Cougars in their win at Swinton

Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett says reaching the Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals will help secure the club financially for the rest of the season – and sees no reason why they cannot overcome Widnes.

Keighley were hoping to land a bumper pay-day against one of their big West Yorkshire neighbours but were drawn away to the Vikings after reaching the last eight for the first time since 1997.

But Fawcett is still anticipating a financial boost and, although the Super League outfit will be overwhelming favourites to reach the semi-finals, he believes Paul March’s side have the ability to cause an upset.

The last-eight ties will be played over the weekend of June 7-8 and Fawcett said: “I was relatively pleased to be drawn against Widnes as I think the crowd will be good and therefore the match commercials pretty beneficial.

“This will be a boost for the club and will help set us up for the rest of the season.

“Also, I think we might push Widnes close – we have the personnel who can do this – and you never know what can happen in the Challenge Cup.”

Fawcett paid tribute to March’s players for their 33-20 victory against Swinton Lions at the Leigh Sports Village, admitting he had feared the worst beforehand.

The Cougars supremo revealed: “I was worried on the way to Leigh, with major butterflies in my stomach, as Swinton represented a very big, slippery banana skin for us.

“It’s never easy playing Swinton as they are a dogged team and, alarmingly, they showed it in the second half after coming within one converted try of us.

“Thankfully the team displayed skill and resilience to open the gap to three scores and the Swinton resistance ebbed away and enabled us to move into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1997. I’m both proud and delighted.”

March had wanted to face Bradford or Leeds in the last eight but the player-boss said: “We wanted a West Yorkshire derby but it didn’t come out like that.

“Widnes are well supported but I’m sure a lot of Cougars fans will get themselves over there and it should be a good atmosphere.

“It could be an upset – it’s just how they play and how we play.

“But that’s why it’s the greatest knockout cup competition in the world.”

Widnes – who Keighley lost 18-5 to in the final at Wembley back in 1937 – have made an encouraging start to their Super League campaign with six wins from nine games.

Denis Betts’ side also dumped big-spending Salford Red Devils out of the Cup last weekend.

March added: “Denis has done a good job at Widnes and it’s only a few years ago when I was at Hunslet that we drew them in the Challenge Cup.

“We ended up knocking them out that day so hopefully that’s a good omen.

“But Denis has got them playing really well with some quality players.

“I played with Kevin Brown at Huddersfield and he makes everything tick for them.

“But we’ve got four league games before and we can’t be distracted.

“We need to make sure we do our best in the league and the Challenge Cup game will take care of itself.”

Widnes’ controversial artificial i-pitch has often attracted criticism but March is not overly concerned by it.

He explained: “I’ve never played on it and I guarantee that no-one else from our team has either.

“It’ll be an experience for us but it will be a nice fast field.

“At the minute my structures and gameplan are geared towards playing fast, flowing rugby so I’m sure the surface will help us.”

Cougars return to Championship action this Sunday with a home match against Dewsbury Rams.

James Feather (groin), Andy Shickell (leg) and Ash Lindsay (shoulder) remain sidelined through injury and Elliott Cosgrove will be out for up to two months after undergoing surgery on a fractured eye socket.

But James Haley will be available again this weekend after missing the Swinton game with a back problem.

March said: “James Haley should be back this week and Buster is getting closer and closer all the time – we just don’t want to push him too soon.

“But we’re in buoyant mood and have to take each game as it comes before the Cup tie.

“It’ll be the same for Widnes. Who knows what form they will be in and what sort of team they will have available in a few weeks’ time?

“It’s up to us to make sure we keep getting the supporters in and it’s a great start for us to have Dewsbury at home after booking our place in the quarter-finals.

“If Cougarmania fans get behind us again then it should be a good day on Sunday.”

The curtain raiser for Sunday’s game will be Keighley Albion u-14s v Dewsbury Moor u-14s.

Kick-off for the curtain raiser will be 12.45pm and the Hall of Fame bar will be open from noon.

Comments (6)

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11:02am Thu 1 May 14

audal says...

May is a massive month for the cougars, 3 at home and only 1 away all are winnable and indeed have to be won to point the direction towards next season's division we will be in.
May is a massive month for the cougars, 3 at home and only 1 away all are winnable and indeed have to be won to point the direction towards next season's division we will be in. audal
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Thu 1 May 14

Mixter says...

How far into the chairmans cheek was his tongue, when he suggested the Widnes match was winnable??

Im pleased they will at least get a few quid - though Leeds would have been better.
How far into the chairmans cheek was his tongue, when he suggested the Widnes match was winnable?? Im pleased they will at least get a few quid - though Leeds would have been better. Mixter
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Thu 1 May 14

Ian-Holt Roberts says...

Mixter wrote:
How far into the chairmans cheek was his tongue, when he suggested the Widnes match was winnable??

Im pleased they will at least get a few quid - though Leeds would have been better.
Mixter what is a few quid ?
[quote][p][bold]Mixter[/bold] wrote: How far into the chairmans cheek was his tongue, when he suggested the Widnes match was winnable?? Im pleased they will at least get a few quid - though Leeds would have been better.[/p][/quote]Mixter what is a few quid ? Ian-Holt Roberts
  • Score: 0

5:40pm Thu 1 May 14

Ian-Holt Roberts says...

what will the gate be 3.000 Give or take ? not a vast amount of money from that , Do we know the amount of money we will receive for reaching this stage from the rugby league ? Mixter tongue in cheek is how I view all comments from our chairman .
what will the gate be 3.000 Give or take ? not a vast amount of money from that , Do we know the amount of money we will receive for reaching this stage from the rugby league ? Mixter tongue in cheek is how I view all comments from our chairman . Ian-Holt Roberts
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Thu 1 May 14

Ian-Holt Roberts says...

Ian-Holt Roberts wrote:
what will the gate be 3.000 Give or take ? not a vast amount of money from that , Do we know the amount of money we will receive for reaching this stage from the rugby league ? Mixter tongue in cheek is how I view all comments from our chairman .
With the game being on TV Thursday evening will we receive any moneys or will it go to Widnes ?.
[quote][p][bold]Ian-Holt Roberts[/bold] wrote: what will the gate be 3.000 Give or take ? not a vast amount of money from that , Do we know the amount of money we will receive for reaching this stage from the rugby league ? Mixter tongue in cheek is how I view all comments from our chairman .[/p][/quote]With the game being on TV Thursday evening will we receive any moneys or will it go to Widnes ?. Ian-Holt Roberts
  • Score: 0

8:08pm Thu 1 May 14

Mixter says...

They should share the SKY and gate money...after Widnes have played down the figures. Which has happened in the past with away games.

I once went to an away match during the 'good times', where it transpired the 'gate' was deemed to be lower than the actual travelling Keighley fans - let alone the home fans.

Cant recall where it was now, but Hull KR or Halifax spring to mind.
They should share the SKY and gate money...after Widnes have played down the figures. Which has happened in the past with away games. I once went to an away match during the 'good times', where it transpired the 'gate' was deemed to be lower than the actual travelling Keighley fans - let alone the home fans. Cant recall where it was now, but Hull KR or Halifax spring to mind. Mixter
  • Score: 0

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