Keighley Cougars must play waiting game over contracts

TOUCHDOWN: Josh Lynam scores for Cougars in their defeat to Crusaders. Picture: Charlie Perry

TOUCHDOWN: Josh Lynam scores for Cougars in their defeat to Crusaders. Picture: Charlie Perry

First published in Sport Keighley News: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

THE MAJORITY of Keighley Cougars' current squad are waiting pens poised over signing new contracts.

However, until Paul March's team gain the single point that will guarantee them Kingstone Press Championship rugby next season, the players won't be writing their names on that dotted line.

Player-coach March said: "Only Paul White, who has a deal which covers this year and next year, and myself – I have recently agreed a two-year deal – have contracts beyond the end of this season.

"In an ideal world we would want this all sorted out before now but we cannot do anything until we know we are definitely in the Championship in 2015.

"However, about 80 per cent of the squad have agreed to stop on, and I am confident that we will stay up."

Cougars were beaten 30-18 at home by already-relegated North Wales Crusaders at Cougar Park last Sunday in a display which frustrated March but they did secure a bonus point with a last-gasp penalty goal by Danny Jones that put them on the brink of safety.

Aided by a strong wind in the first half, Crusaders led 24-4 at half-time and, although the hosts hit back with two tries to reduce the margin to eight points, a fifth North Wales try three minutes from time scuppered the comeback.

March said: "The wind was a massive factor, and we were just not switched on in the first half when we were playing 'uphill', and they got an 18-0 lead.

"At least we didn't pick up any further injuries in addition to the broken hand suffered the week previously by Brendon Rawlins.

"We have a weekend off now because of the Challenge Cup final, and that has been a rarity for us this season with us getting to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

"So we will let the players have some time with their families, and they will be raring to go when they come back to training next Tuesday having spent so much time with their wives!"

Keighley don't play now until their trip to Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, August 31.

March's team defeated the Rams 40-20 in May at Cougar Park, and he said: "We did a job on them earlier in the season and intend to do a number on them again."

Keighley's final match of the regular league season is at home to Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, September 7.

* Richard Moore, who is expected to be a Cougar some time in the future, has joined Championship One club Hunslet Hawks to boost their play-off hopes.

The 32-year-old prop, who is from Keighley, has been released by Super League club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, for whom he made 15 appearances this season upon leaving Leeds Rhinos last November.

Moore, also believed to be a target for York City Knights and Gateshead Thunder, played seven times for former Cougar coach Barry Eaton's Hawks on dual registration last season, and made his 'second debut' for them on Sunday in the 20-18 home defeat to York City Knights.

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