Date: Friday 3rd April
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
York City Knights may not have a home and fighting for their future, but they will have to focus on Rugby League this Friday as they visit recently relegated Keighley.
Last Time Out
Keighley were knocked out of the iPro Sport Cup following a smash and grab by Swinton.
Rikki Sheriffe grabbed the game’s opening try before taking the lead after Grant Beecham touched down a Chris Atkin grubber before Atkin himself raced forty metres after a break from Aaron Lloyd.
Atkin got a second after breaking free following a mix up in the Cougars defence and despite Scott Law crossing for the home side, Stuart Littler dived over in the corner for the Lions. Keighley pulled the scores level after tries from Brendon Rawlins and Jesse Sheriffe but a Paul Handforth high tackle allowed Atkin to convert the penalty to win the game.
York came out easy 58-8 winners away at the Featherstone Lions in the Fourth Round of the Challenge Cup.
Liam Cunningham scored a hat-trick with Kristian Brining grabbing a brace. The Knights other tries came from Peter Aspinall, Ed Smith, Harry Carter, Colton Roche and James Haynes. Haynes also converted nine goals.
Keighley Cougars Player-Coach Paul March will be reaping the rewards of a fortnight without a game with many first teamers returning from injury.
Luke Haigh, Daley Williams and David March will all be available for selection this Friday with Ross Peltier only a fortnight away as he recovers from a thumb ligament injury.
The Knights came out of the Featherstone Lions triumph unscathed and are expected to name an unchanged side from that which faced the Lions a fortnight ago.
Which pack comes out on top will be the difference in this game. Despite missing the big man Ross Peltier, the Cougars still boast an experienced pack which includes the likes of Ash Lindsay, the March brothers, Brendon Rawlins, James Feather and Olly Pursglove whilst the Knights have a younger more boisterous pack led by Irish international Colton Roche and the Knights Player-Assistant Coach Mark Applegarth.
What The Coaches Say
Keighley Cougars Player-Coach Paul March: “It will be a tough game, they were table toppers last year and they’ll want to replicate that. We’ve only got one goal now to aim for, having been knocked out of both the Challenge Cup and the iPro Sport Cup, so everything focuses on the league.
“These last couple of weeks have been a mini-pre-season for us. We’ve trained well and are looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
York City Knights Coach James Ford: “Pre-season has been disjointed but luckily for me and my coaching team the players have been fantastic,” he said. “Regardless of where we’ve trained they’ve turned up, trained smart and trained tough. We’re not far away, we’re not quite at the levels I wanted us to be at and the players could be at, but we’re not far off.
“It’s the start of a competition which is a primacy for us and where better to start than away to the competition’s favourites. It should be a real good yardstick for where we are – we’re all looking forward to it.”
A tough game awaits both sides at Cougar Park with the pressure firmly on the Cougars after a disappointing March but the question is can the Knights pull together and find some light at the end of what appears to be the darkest of tunnels? – Keighley by 10