Keighley Cougars Reserves (30) 44
Tries: Kelly, Barker 2, Lawton 2, Weatherill, Davey, Smithson, Kelly Goals: Lawton 4
Scotland Students (16) 38
Tries: Hutchison, Flowers, Hall 2, Hogg 2, Dowding Goals: Hogg 5
Scotland Students finished their warm up matches with a tough match against Keighley Cougars Reserves who recorded their first victory of the 2017 season in a game in which those in attendance enjoyed.
In a 16 try feast at Cougar Park, Scott Lindsey nearly saw his side lose after surrendering a 14 point half-time advantage before two late tries sealed the win.
It appeared to be a good afternoon at the office for the Cougars as they raced into a 16-0 lead after just 12 minutes through tries from Sean Kelly, Calvin Barker and Danny Lawton.
The Scotland Students got back into the game though with two quickfire tries of their own with Finlay Hutchison completing an 80 metre break before Ethan Flowers went over after stealing the ball in a one-on-one challenge.
Despite this, the Cougars soon widened the margin on the scoreboard with Dane Weatherill diving over in the corner with Lewis Davey going in behind the posts following a break from the kick off.
Barker went the length off the field before unselfishly offloading to Callum Smithson to score but the Scots had the final say off the half as Niall Hall turned through a tackle to touch down.
Head Coach Nathan Graham had this to say about the Students Performance.
I thought the lads struggled defensively in the first half. Our contact was poor and some decision making on the edge wasn’t the best. We had some words at half time and the second half was much better.
It’s a process for us to be the best we can be for the World Cup and our offensive play was markedly improved from the Halifax game and we scored some great tries against a team that included seven players who have played first team rugby this year. Some players really stood out including Matt Hogg, Niall Hall, Gav Reed and Dan Turland.
The Cougars appeared to have stayed in the sheds following the half-time break as Scotland closed the gap to two points with stand-off Matt Hogg scoring two quick fire tries first breaking through before pouncing on a knock-on to score from the free play.
Barker used the overlap to his advantage to squeeze over for his second to bring the arrears into one converted try but the Students had turned on the style with Hogg orchestrating the play.
Scotland took the lead for the only time in this breathtaking encounter with his pass to Hall setting the Prop up as he took advantage of a gap in the line to sell the dummy and crash over.
Hogg then took his own chip over the top to send Mike Dowding over in the corner to open up a four point lead.
However, a Kelly break through the line restored the lead for the Cougars with Lawton sealing his brace to wrap up the victory.
The squad were disappointed we didn’t get the win but so long as we improve game on game and learn along the way then it’s served a purpose. I’m really looking forward to our final get together on 17-18th June as the guys continue on their journey towards Sydney
Calvin Barker, Dane Weatherill, Josh Casey, Danny Lawton, Lewis Davey, Callum Smithson, Kieran Smith, Fran Welsh, Sean Kelly, Ash Hutchinson, James Pickering, Emmerson Whittel, Junior Ibrahim, (Subs) Luke Robinson, Nathan Kitson, Dan Connell, Ryan Price, Jak Adams, Aaron Harlow-Stephenson
Finlay Hutchison, Archie Andrade, George Geddes, Scott Harrison, Mike Dowding, Matt Hogg, Morgan Plunchard, Gavin Reed, Luke Walters, Niall Hall, Ethan Flowers, Jack Elliott, Dan Turland, (Subs) Mark Cordeaux, Jordan Duncan, Doug Chirnside, Jack Plumridge