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It’s Back To The Big Time For Kneets Visit – York Preview

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Keighley Cougars v York City Knights Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

Date: Sunday 24th June

Time: 3:30pm

Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley

The Cougars ran riot in an expected comfortable victory over the West Wales Raiders but know they can expect a much tougher test this Sunday afternoon at Cougar Park as high flying York City Knights make the trip south from North Yorkshire for a game which is traditionally closely contested and fiery on all counts.


The Cougars ran in 17 tries in a 94-0 rout of the West Wales Raiders. Ritchie Hawkyard led the way with four tries of his own with Adam Ryder, Andy Gabriel and Perry Whiteley all running in hat-tricks on a comfortable afternoon at the office for Craig Lingard’s side. Further scores on the day came through a Dan Parker brace with Scott Law and Darrell Griffin also crossing the line for the Cougars.

York continued to put pressure on the Bradford Bulls at the summit of League One with a 4-31 victory away at the North Wales Crusaders. First half tries from Ash Robson and Hull KR dual-reg man Will Oakes were followed up by a Connor Robinson drop goal to give the Knights a 13 point advantage at the interval with second half tries from Ben Cockayne, Dan Hawksworth and Andy Ellis sealing the two points on the afternoon.


Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard welcomes back Matty Beharrell into the squad after the half-back made a sensational recovery from an injury that was originally feared to have sidelined him until the back end of July. Matthew Bailey is also brought into the side after being rested last Sunday against West Wales with Davey Dixon and Jose Kenga the two to drop out of the side. Josh Lynam (Arm) and Emmerson Whittel (Knee) are both back in training but still remain as Linners’ only two long term injury doubts.

Knights Head Coach James Ford has named an initial squad of 20 players and is today making late checks on Ash Robson (Head), Adam Robinson (Ankle) and Harry Carter (Ankle) who all picked up knocks in last weekend’s victory across the border ahead of the trip to Cougar Park tomorrow afternoon. French half-back Thibault Franck joins Will Oakes as the only two Hull Kingston Rovers players at the disposal of Ford on dual-registration with Featherstone loanee Danny Maskill making a return to the side.


COUGARS: Aaronson, Bailey, Beharrell, Conroy, Emmett, Gabriel, Griffin, Hallas, Hardcastle, Hawkyard, Law, Leeming, Nicholson, Parker, Rawlins, Ryder, Tonks, Whiteley, Wright.

KNIGHTS: Batchelor, Cockayne, Dixon, Ellis, Franck, Hawksworth, Hey, Horne, Jubb, Kelly, Maskill, Mazive, Oakes, Porter, A Robinson, C Robinson, Robson, Scott, Spears.


Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “They’re a really clinical side who do the basics well.

“They try and slow you down with the big forwards that they’ve got and they try to play off the back of that.

“With their forwards dominating, it looks like they’re scoring some really good offensive tries but all they’re doing is going down the middle and playing off the back of a quick ruck.

“We have to make sure we win that forward battle and our middles have to dominate theirs in the arm-wrestle.

“I think we have the better strike players on the edge so we can score a lot of tries there and restrict them down the centre.”

York City Knights Head Coach James Ford: “I do think they’ve become a more professional side since their coach took over. Their standards are high on match days and in training.

“We’ve been close to achieving our goals and if we continue putting in the hard work, we’ll continue improving.

“Keighley are a good side, they have a capable side and they are capable of turning us over.

“They’ve got a lot of energy in their backs and creativity in their forwards, so we’ll have to be at our best, hard-working and composed because it will be a real challenge for us.

“The Keighley fans will be getting behind their team immensely and they will make it uncomfortable for us, but it wouldn’t be a trip to Keighley if it wasn’t a challenge.

“We’re preparing for them to be aggressive and to fire into us, certainly, but we’ll just go and play our game as quickly as we can, have a plan and stick to it.

“We won’t be fazed by what they’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks and we’ll focus on ourselves.”


The man in the middle for Sunday’s huge Betfred League One Round 14 clash between these two top five sides at Cougar Park is Billy Pearson from Barnsley. Billy is no stranger to the Cougars having already refereed the boys this season in March’s home defeat to the Bradford Bulls and most recently, April’s victory away at the Newcastle Thunder.


Craig Lingard got the reaction he was looking for last weekend as the Cougars put in a professional 80 minute performance to brush aside the West Wales Raiders at Cougar Park. He knows that his side will have to do the same again if they want to beat a Knights side sitting pretty in second place and providing the Bradford Bulls with their only real challenge in the League One title race. These games are traditionally must see and tomorrow afternoon will prove no different in this little corner of West Yorkshire.

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Or, in the Cougars case, maybe not back to the big time. Well and truly put in your place today. I will be very surprised if Keighley finish in the top 5 after this. 

Edited by Haxbytyke
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