Wolves 13 too strong for Cougars
Keighley Cougars 4 Warrington Wolves 74
By Rachel Arnett (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst)
Warrington travelled to Cougar Park for the second consecutive year to face Keighley in the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup.
Having lifted the famous silverware three times in the last four years this match saw the Wolves start their new campaign hoping to get one step closer to retaining the trophy come August.
Previous Cup meetings between the two sides have finished in favour of the Super League side but each year is a clean slate as Championship clubs aim to cause an upset.
The Wolves line-up saw numerous changes from last week's visit to Wakefield notably the inclusion of Danny Bridge and Glenn Riley both making their first team debuts. Michael Monaghan and Ben Harrison were named in the side both making their 150th club appearance.
The first half saw the Wolves keep their opponents scoreless whilst crossing for five tries of their own. The Super League side dominated field position and were able to convert opportunities into points unlike their Championship opponents who still showed sparks of try-scoring ability. The second half continued in the same vein with the Wolves taking the game further out of the Cougars' reach.
Gareth O'Brien got the game underway with Keighley first in attack. From the first Cougars kick the ball ricocheted into the hands of Chris Riley on half way for the first Wolves' attack. Myler's kick to the corner on the last was safely collected by Duffy to halt the first pressure on the line.
Higham's drive to the line in the next set took the Wolves close and O'Brien's grubber kick was wrapped up in goal and the chasing defence forced a drop-out and a repeat set for the visitors.
A run from Myler was halted as the ball was knocked out of his hands, but the referee deemed it as a knock-on giving the Wolves head and feed in the scrum. A forward pass soon after though handed possession back to the home side from half way.
The Cougars kick to the corner on the last was knocked out of play by Hodgson resulting in a drop-out and a repeat period of pressure for Keighley as they tried to break down the Wolves defence in the early stages. Richie Barnett came close down the left but an attempted offload in the tackle put paid to a score and gave the Wolves a scrum. From this, play was carried over to the Wolves' left and space opened up for Riley down the wing whose pace carried the visitors into the lead on nine minutes with the opening try. Hodgson added the conversion. 0-6.
Keighley's kick on the restart went out on the full giving the Wolves great field position to back up their first try. Quick hands from Hodgson to Joel Monaghan and out to Williams ended with the ball drifting out of play off a Keighley hand. The repeat set put Atkins over for the Wolves' second and Hodgson's conversion made it 0-12.
A break from Feather looked to have the pace for the Cougars but an offload fell into the hands of O'Brien and the Wolves were back in the driving seat on 15 minutes and this possession was soon turned into points with Waterhouse powering over minutes later. Hodgson's boot was on target once again to edge the lead to 0-18.
As the first quarter came to a close the Cougars were still striving to put some points on the board through their kicking game but the defence was able to create enough pressure to restrict the impact of the kicks.
Following a period of pressure from the Cougars, play switched ends and the pace and well-timed passing of the Wolves out to the left opened up space for Atkins to walk in for his second score of the afternoon. The conversion attempt was missed. 0-22 with 10 minutes of the half remaining.
Keighley continued to create opportunities but were just unable to convert them into points, with kicks just too strong on the last. A few errors crept in for the Wolves but they kept their composure and were able to maintain control and momentum of the game.
On 37 minutes the Wolves were over again through Williams in the right hand corner. Myler drew in the defence to open up space for quick hands from Joel Monaghan out to Williams who did well to stay in the field of play. The touchline conversion was short, 0-26. And this was how the first half ended.
The second half had been underway for a matter of minutes when Williams crossed for his second of the afternoon in the corner. The touchline kick was added by Hodgson this time around. 0-32.
The Wolves were over again just minutes later when Atkins crossed for his hat-trick. Pace by Waterhouse down the left set up an outside ball to Atkins for him to power down the field leaving the chasing defence in his wake. The conversion was added stretching the lead to 0-38.
With momentum continuing to build Myler was next on the score sheet taking a pass from Hodgson to run in for a score under the posts. Hodgson added the extras. 0-44
As Keighley advanced towards the line hoping to open up their scoring a handling error saw the ball go to ground and Atkins was on hand to collect and run over 60 metres for his fourth. Hodgson's conversion made it 0-50.
The floodgates seemed to have opened as Chris Riley went over for his second on 51 minutes. The try was converted. 0-56. Despite the best efforts of the Cougars, Warrington's hold on the game was proving too strong at this stage. And the game continued to get away from the home side as O'Brien was next over for the Wolves, twisting away from the tackle to touch down. Hodgson converted. 0-62.
56 minutes saw the Cougars cross the try-line for the first time. Following a penalty from 20 metres out Paul White crossed for the home side but Jones was unable to convert. 4-62.
But the Wolves were soon back with a try of their own, Glenn Riley powered his way over to score on his debut following great play by Williams to bring the game to the centre of the field. Another successful Hodgson conversion. 4-68.
Hodgson got on the score sheet for a try himself on 66 minutes following great build up play involving Currie and Myler. He converted his own try taking the Wolves ahead 4-74.
The home side battled to the end but the Wolves kept up their defence to hold them back and keep them out.
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: "We needed to get on top of some aspects of our game; we needed a good practice and a good hit out. We've got a couple of blokes carrying bumps and bruises and we didn't want to jeopardise their Super League season by overplaying them or putting them in a position where they could get injured. We freshened up a few boys today but we also had a few boys that needed a run out and there were quite a number; Gaz O'Brien hasn't been a regular lately or Tyrone McCarthy so it was good for those guys to get a hit out, on top of Bridge and Riley making their debuts.
"The first half probably took its toll on our opponents. I thought they did really well, Keighley, particularly in that first half and even in the second half they could have easily dropped their bundle but they didn't they showed a lot of fortitude there. They were good in the first half but that was going to take a lot of energy out of their system - when we went out there again we were running down hill which gave us a bit of an advantage as well I think. The floodgates opened for a little while but to their credit they didn't throw the towel in by any means, they came back and kept fighting. They scored a try and almost scored another right on the death of the game. That's our third year in a row against Keighley, all credit to Paul, they've got a good bunch there who will stick together."
Paul White, Gavin Duffy, Daley Williams, Danny Lawton, Richie Barnett, Danny Jones, Paul March, Sean Hesketh, James Feather, Jode Sheriffe, Olly Pursglove, Ben Sagar, Brendon Rawlins
Subs: Andy Shickell, Joe Chandler, Joe Parkinson, Ryan Patchett
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Joel Monaghan, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Williams, Gareth O'Brien, Richie Myler, Ben Harrison, Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse, Danny Bridge, Ben Currie
Subs: Michael Monaghan, Mike Cooper, Tyrone McCarthy, Glenn Riley
Tries: C Riley (2), Atkins (4), Waterhouse, Williams (2), Myler, O'Brien, G Riley, Hodgson
Goals: Hodgson (11)
Half Time: 0-26
Game pics below (courtesy of Bob Brough)
21, Apr, 2013