Keighley Cougars' fate still in own hands despite Dewsbury defeat

Paul Handforth

Paul Handforth

First published in Sport
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Dewsbury 24 Cougars 12

PAUL Handforth’s try gave Cougars a precious bonus point as they gear up for ‘Survival Sunday’ in the Championship this weekend.

In a tense three-way battle to avoid relegation, Cougars lost ground to Whitehaven and Batley today.

Both their rivals claimed thumping wins but, while Paul March’s side were defeated at his hometown club Dewsbury, they eked out a bonus point thanks to Handforth’s 74th-minute score.

It means Cougars’ fate lies in their own hands heading into Sunday’s home clash with Featherstone, where victory would confirm their safety and indeed a play-off spot.

Trailing 18-0 at half time, Cougars produced a spirited second-half performance to ensure they stay one point ahead of the final relegation place with just one round of fixtures remaining.

Dewsbury led in the eighth minute when they created space out wide for Ben Hellewell to score in the corner.

Tom Hemingway converted and then added a penalty after Handforth was penalised for a high tackle on Karl Pryce.

The Rams soon scored again when Anthony Thackeray sent Ryan Hepworth crashing over before claiming a third through

Dewsbury did score their third try of the game however right on the stroke of half time through Kieran Hyde.

Keighley were much improved after the break and they got their reward in the 57th minute as Danny Jones threw a dummy before stepping through the defence to score a great solo try.

He converted his own score to cut the deficit to 18-6 but Cougars’ hopes of a comeback were ended in the 71st minute as Dewsbury scored a long-range try .

Jason Muranka made the break and he produced a fine offload which allowed Thackeray to score and Hemingway improved.

Cougars then claimed the short-kick off and put the Rams’ defence under a huge amount of pressure with two penalties in a row.

Eventually it told as Handforth forced his way over from acting half, while Jones kicked the conversion to make it 24-12 and seal an important bonus point.

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