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Demetriou hails points-fest as Keighley Cougars hit roaring forties
Buy this photo » Richie Barnett scores one of his three tries Picture: Charlie Perry
Keighley Cougars 46 York City Knights 24
Richie Barnett plundered a fine hat-trick as Cougars recorded a comprehensive victory over Co-operative Championship strugglers York City Knights.
The former Super League star, who enjoyed stints at Hull, Warrington and Salford before arriving at Cougar Park during the close season, gave a masterclass in clinical finishing as Jason Demetriou’s men claimed their second successive win.
Full back Craig Moss and winger Gavin Duffy both claimed two tries apiece and Semi Tadulala and Danny Lawton, who kicked five goals from nine attempts, were also on the scoresheet.
Player-coach Demetriou said: “I’m very happy, especially with the amount of points that we scored.
“It was our best performance for a while and I felt during training this week that there was a different level to us again.
“The boys are starting to enjoy what they’re doing and having people back putting pressure on places has definitely added to that.”
York, who included Waine Pryce, the cousin of Bulls star Karl Pryce, led in the eighth minute when player-coach Chris Thorman found Ed Smith and his pass sent centre Matt Garside scampering clear.
Thorman, who will join Huddersfield Giants as assistant coach next season, added the extras and looked to have created a second try for the City Knights in the 15th minute.
The former Huddersfield stand-off’s stabbed kick was touched down by Jack Aldous but referee Ronnie Laughton penalised the prop for being offside and no try was awarded.
That served as a wake-up call to Cougars as they gradually began to move through the gears.
Moments later they scored their first try when Jy-mel Coleman found Danny Jones and his pass sent Lawton over the line.
Cougars began to up the tempo and scored again in the 20th minute when Moss, with a combination of clever footwork and searing pace, weaved his way through a thicket of York defenders to score.
Lawton added the extras and four minutes later Cougars should have had a third when James Feather drove at the heart of the York defence and looked to have slipped in Jones, only for his pass to be ruled as being forward.
In the 27th minute, Cougars struck again when visiting full back Tom Bush knocked on, giving the hosts another set deep in York territory.
That led to Cougars working the ball from left to right, where replacement hooker Jamaine Wray’s pass ushered Barnett over in the corner.
Lawton’s conversion attempt hit a post but Tadulala, a growing influence on proceedings, soon barrelled over from close range and Lawton added the extras.
On the stroke of half-time, winger Duffy scored in the corner from Paul March’s kick and Lawton failed to convert, leaving the scores at 24-6 in Cougars’ favour.
York hit back ten minutes after the break when Kris Brining burrowed over from close range and Thorman added his second conversion.
But three minutes later Moss went over from a pass by March and Lawton converted.
Shortly before the hour mark, Barnett followed Moss in completing a brace when he hacked the ball forward and grounded in the right corner.
York soon replied when Dario Esposito plunged over from close range and Thorman added the extras before Barnett reclaimed centre stage when another fine finish for his hat-trick score.
There was still time for Sam Obst to send Duffy over in the right corner with six minutes remaining before York had the final say when George Elliot went over and Thorman added his fourth goal.
Cougars: Moss, Duffy, Barnett, Lawton, Tadulala, Jones, Obst, Rawlins, Feather, Cherryholme, Pursglove, Shepherd, Coleman. Interchange: Wray, March, Korkidas, Shickell. Attendance: 972