Newcastle Thunder 34 - 8 Keighley Cougars

Newcastle Thunder 34 - 8 Keighley Cougars

3rd September 2017

Newcastle Thunder kept themselves in the hunt for a place in the Kingstone Press League 1 playoffs with a hard fought win over Keighley Cougars on Sunday, as the curtain came down on the home action for 2017.

It was a close run affair for much of the afternoon, as Thunder’s attacking efforts were frustrated by both stubborn Cougars defence and their own struggles to find a telling pass after laying good ground work, before a highly polished final 15 minutes allowed the hosts to pull clear.

The afternoon had started in energetic style as both sides went on the hunt for points but failed to yield a score until nine minutes in as neither side could profit from the positions they were creating.

It was Thunder who were the first to hit their straps and did so with a nice passing move along the line which fed winger Ali Blair, who was able to arc around the final defender and score in the corner.

Converted expertly from the touchline by Benn Hardcastle, the hosts doubled their advantage five minutes later as Blair crossed for his second, finishing an initial break from co-captain Joe Brown that was kept moving by Lewis Young on a smart supporting line.

The Cougars were keeping their hosts honest though and there was more than one occasion that as good as Thunder’s defence was, they were thankful to Keighley for fluffing their attacking lines.

Following a prolonged break in play whilst one of the visitors received treatment, Hardcastle got the scoreboard ticking again with a simple penalty on the cusp of half time, to allow Thunder to take a 14-0 lead.

Having kept a clean sheet for the first 40, the Cougars were able to get their account open after pouncing on a mistake as the hosts were themselves pushing to extend their lead.

Throwing a speculative offload, Keighley broke away and when the tackle count was reset following a penalty on half way, kept their composure to work Brendan Rawlins in for a score, before doubling their tally five minutes later through Adam Ryder.

Following a fallow spell, Derrell Olpherts was the man to set Thunder on their way to closing the game with a purple patch as he crashed over from close range after a Blair break had got the hosts onto the front foot.

A second penalty goal with eight minutes remaining made it 22-8 before Liam McAvoy put the game to bed with a try crafted by front row colleague Callum Bustin, who laid on a perfect scoring pass for the Cumbrian.

With three minutes to go, there was still time for a bit of fairy tale sparkle to be added to the day and that came with Thunder’s final attack, as Academy product Adam Bielby rose highest to a lofted fifth tackle kick that he gathered and scored.

With a further conversion added for a 34-8 final score, Thunder now head into the final fortnight of the season in seventh place, needing wins away to Doncaster and York in order to be part of the push for promotion to the Kingstone Press Championship

Newcastle Thunder

Tom Shaw, Joe Brown, Derrell Olpherts, Adam Bielby, Ali Blair, Lewis Young, Benn Hardcastle, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Callum Bustin, Harry Aldous, Steve Snitch, Jack Aldous, Rhys Clarke, Sam Luckley, Vincent Rennie, Aaron Teroi

Try Scorers - Blair (9, 15) Olpherts (67) McAvoy (77) Bielby (80)

Goal Scorers - Hardcastle (9, 15, 37, 72, 78, 80) Shaw (68)

Keighley Cougars

Ritchie Hawkyard, Davey Dixon, Ben Sagar, Adam Ryder, Andrew Gabriel, Liam Darville, Matty Beharrell, Brad Nicholson, Nathan Conroy, Matthew Bailey, Joshua Lynam, Josh Tonks, Michael Emmett, Harry Aaronson, Brendon Rawlins, Sean Kelly, Trae O' Sullivan

Try Scorers - Rawlins (45) Ryder (51)

Attendance - 791

Man of the Match - Harry Aldous



Newcastle Thunder 34 - 8 Keighley Cougars