Oldham Roughyeds 28

Keighley Cougars 4

KEIGHLEY Cougars' losing streak continued, but in a much-improved performance at Oldham Roughyeds in Rhys Lovegrove’s first game in charge.

In truth, Cougars were the better side for most of the 80 minutes but fell victim to their own mistakes and poor ends to sets in this Betfred League One clash.

But despite this, the Cougars new head coach was quick to praise his side’s effort following the loss.

“We were looking at things around the wrestle and the ruck this week as we’ve had a lot of issues around that over the past few weeks and that was our sign of us getting better,” said Lovegrove.

“It dictated our score, but I thought the wrestle was a lot better and our peel of the ruck was quicker and that was a mark of our improvement.

“Obviously our attack was clunky and that was due to the fact of how much work we’ve done on defence over the past couple of weeks.

“It affected our chances of breaking them down but we’ll be working on our end of sets and attack as I’m a process man, I like my forwards to be compact and my backs to be scoring lots of tries on the back of that.

“But Oldham played some really good footy and they defended well and that is why they came away with the result.”

After a fiercely competitive start to proceedings in a fast-paced game, Oldham opened the scoring when, after a break of the Cougars line, the scrambling Keighley defence forced a wild offload from Gareth Owen but the bounce of the ball fell kindly to Danny Langtree who rounded to touch down.

But from the restart, Keighley shot themselves in the foot as they conceded a penalty. From the resulting set of six, Dave Hewitt’s kick to the corner was touched down by Anthony Bowman despite the best efforts of Davey Dixon to knock the ball dead.

The visitors nearly got back into the game when debutant Jordan Aitchison broke through the line but failed to back himself at the crucial moment when one-on-one with Ritchie Hawkyard.

And from the set that followed, Matt Welham missed a tackle on Harry Aaronson and the winger raced half the length of the field to dive home underneath the crossbar.

Keighley nearly scored once more but a superb chase by Langtree denied Aitchison after another break from the half-back.

The first half ended on a sour note however when Ryan Wright was nearly taken out by a stiff arm from Emmerson Whittel and this led to a scuffle as the sides made their way back to the dressing rooms.

Despite the opening to the second half being all Keighley, Oldham extended their lead further on the back of a penalty close to the line as Bowman turned through a tackle to touch down for his second of the afternoon.

Cougars nearly found their way onto the scoreboard twice but after Alfie Seeley was taken into touch, Langtree stole the ball in a one-on-one challenge from Dom Horn on the line.

And another Keighley error led to a further Oldham score as Lovegrove’s men conceded a fresh set on the line and the ball was worked out wide to Aaronson, who walked home in the corner.

The away side wouldn’t roll over and continued to pile on the pressure but were struggling to find a way through. This was until the final minute when a tunnel ball sent Jason Muranka racing 30 metres to score Cougars' first try in 191 minutes of rugby league.


COUGARS: Welham 5; Dixon 6; Sheriff 5; Hallett 7; Seeley 6; Aitchison 7; Miller 5; Bailey 5; Cullimore 5; Muranka 6; Horn 6; Parker 8; Feather 8. Subs: Coventry 5; Thackray 7; Wray 5; Wright 6.

OLDHAM: Hawkyard 5; Maders 5; McComb 5; Bowman 6; Aaronson 7; Crook 5; Hewitt 6; Law 5; Owen 7; Spencer 5; Bridge 5; Langtree 7; Bent 6. Subs: Whittel 5; Gregson 5; Davies 5; Greenwood 6.

COUGARS: Tries: Muranka (79). Goals: Miller (0/1).

OLDHAM: Tries: Langtree (16); Bowman (19, 50); Aaronson (25, 64). Goals: Crook (4/5)


REFEREE: Kevin Moore (Normanton)