MATCH REPORT – Cougars 12 – 16 Thunder

Newcastle Thunder are set for a trip to National Conference League Premier Division side Siddal in Round Four of the Coral Challenge Cup after edging out Keighley Cougars in treacherous conditions at Cougar Park.

Thunder earned a narrow 12-16 victory over their fellow League 1 side despite being reduced to 12 men midway through the first half.

It was Thunder who opened the scoring after just six minutes as Colton Roche sliced through the Cougars line as the visitors made the most of a superb 40/20 from Reece Dean.

The half-back played in the forward with a superb pass however the build up to the try has provided Thunder with cause for concern, with on loan Brad Walker forced from the field hurt after a poor challenge from the Cougars defence.

After taking that lead and some scrappy moments, Roche was sent from the field on the 20-minute mark for a high tackle after tempers had flared on a handful of occasions between the sides. 

It didn’t deter Simon Finnigan’s side however as they extended their lead just before the interval.
Quick hands to the left-hand side allowed Kieran Gill to power his way over from close-range and give the visitors a 12-point lead heading into the break.

Keighley got themselves on the scoreboard early into the second half after a prolonged period of pressure ended with Josh Lynam wriggling free from four Thunder defenders to dot down.

Having nursed their six point advantage throughout an error strewn half, Thunder took their lead beyond a score with six minutes remaining when Reece Dean notched a penalty goal which furthered Newcastle’s lead to eight points..

It proves to be the start of a lively end to the game as Keighley refused to lie down, with Aaron Levy forcing his way over and Benn Hardcastle’s goal narrowed the deficit to two points.

With less than 30 seconds to go, the Cougars attempted to go the length of the field, but an offside penalty gave Dean another kick at goal from which the half-back secured victory for Newcastle. 

Keighley Cougars: Alfie Seeley, Mo Agoro, Matt Welham, Louis Sheriff, MaCauley Hallett; Jack Miller, Benn Hardcastle; Dan Parker, Kyle Kesik, Dalton Desmond-Walker, Josh Lynam, Lewis Wray, Aaron Levy.

Interchanges: Jack Coventry, James Feather, Matthew Bailey, Spencer Darley.

Try-Scorers: Lynam (47’), Levy (79’)
Goals: Hardcastle 2/2

Newcastle Thunder: Lewis Young, Alex Donaghy, Joe Brown, Kieran Gill, Alex Clegg; Quentin Laula-Togagae, Reece Dean; Brendan Santi, Bob Beswick, Mikey Wood, Adam Lawton, Colton Roche, Brad Walker. 

Interchanges: Evan Simmons, Sam Blake, Sam Luckley, Harry Aldous.

Try-Scorers: Roche (7’), Gill (32’)

Goals: Dean 4/5

Red Card: Roche (20’) – High Tackle