KEIGHLEY Cougars slipped to their fifth successive defeat as they crashed to a loss against the bottom-placed side in the Betfred Championship.

The Cougars fell to a narrow 18-16 reverse at strugglers Newcastle Thunder in Sunday’s encounter, which handed the latter side their second victory of the season.

The defeat saw Cougars slip to fourth-from-bottom, 11th place, in the table on 10 points from their opening 15 games of the season. This includes 10 defeats and five wins.


It was first blood to Thunder at Kingston Park as Curtis Davies went through for the game’s opening try, which went unconverted.

But the visitors quickly fought back on 18 minutes through a try from Robbie Storey after good work from Dane Chisholm. This was converted by Kieran Rush to make it 6-4.

Ted Chapelhow restored Thunder’s lead with their second try of the afternoon.

Rush was lively again for Cougars as he fired a chip over the Thunder defence and after a fumbled chance, he went over but failed to score the conversion to level the scores at 10-10.

Cougars were able to grab a half-time lead a minute before the break after they were awarded a penalty after a head high challenge on Storey. Chisholm did the rest to make it 12-10 to the visitors at the interval.

The Cougar Park club were dealt a blow at the start of the second period as Thunder struck through an Alex Clare try. Nikau Williams missed the resulting conversion to make it 14-12 to Newcastle.

Brad Gallagher extended the lead for the hosts with a further try to make the score 18-12. Williams missed the conversion with 26 minutes of the contest remaining.

But Cougars added to a seesaw second half when Charlie Graham scored a try to make it 18-16 with only 10 minutes left after Chisholm was unable to secure the further points from the conversion.

There was a late twist as Mo Agoro was denied a try for the Cougars by the touch judge with just 14 seconds of the contest remaining. This meant the visitors missed out on a grandstand finish to the league contest.

Cougars will be hoping for an upturn in their fortunes when they host Whitehaven at Cougar Park on Sunday, June 25 (3pm kick-off).