Oldham Roughyeds v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 20th September
Venue: Whitebank Stadium, Oldham
Here we go, after 22 rounds it’s time for finals football and it doesn’t start much bigger than this. It’s Oldham v Keighley in the League One Promotion Final to decide who finishes as Champions.
Last Time Out
Oldham secured the League Leaders Shield as they triumphed 76-12 away at Oxford.
The Roughyeds blew their hosts away at Iffey Road with Josh Crowley, Will Hope, Phil Joy and Adam Files all crossing twice. The rout was wrapped up by further tries from Jon Ford, Kenny Hughes, Jack Holmes, Tom Dempsey and Leigh loanee Elliot Liku.
The Cougars made it six consecutive victories with a 68-16 thrashing off the Hemel Stags at Cougar Park.
Despite a tense first half, Keighley blew the Stags away in the second forty, eventually crossing for 13 tries with Buster grabbing four whilst Andy Gabriel, Brendon Rawlins and Scott Law all grabbed braces each. Josh Lynam, Paul Handforth and Josh Guzdek also crossed for March’s men.
Scott Naylor has a selection headache with many regulars returning to try regain their places for this massive clash.
Adam Neal and Sammy Gee both return from suspensions with Richard Lepori back from international duty with Italy. League One Player of the Year Lewis Palfrey, Danny Langtree and George Tyson will all definitely feature after being rested for the trip to Oxford last weekend.
Paul March should have a fully fit squad available for selection bar long term injuries Jode Sheriffe and Sean Kelly.
Samir Tahraoui, Rikki Sheriffe and Liam Darville, who were rested for the visit of Hemel, should all return as should Adam Brook, for the first time since the defeat at Oldham in August. David March should also be ready after withdrawing from the warm up on Sunday.
The key to Oldham’s success this year is Palfrey and Steve Roper’s play from behind the pack, the Cougars’ forward line will need to make the metres as well as protect the likes of Paul Handforth and Adam Brook to allow Tiger and Brooky to compete against their Roughyeds’ counterparts.
What The Coaches Say
Oldham Roughyeds Head Coach Scott Naylor: “We’ve only got Steven Nield on the injured list, and he’s long term, everyone else trained this week so I’ll have to make some tough calls.
“There’s going to be some disappointed lads, but what a great position to be in; only one player injured for what could potentially be our last game of the season. Far better to be in that position than to be struggling for a team.”
Keighley Cougars Player-Coach Paul March has yet to comment.
The Cougars are in red hot form, as are Oldham but Keighley head to Whitebank with a much stronger squad to that what the Roughyeds’ brushed to one side last month and with the home side’s finals record and a Cougars side filled with confidence and the mantra of doing it for Jonesy, it should be an absolute corker on Sunday. – Keighley by 4.