JOSHUA CHAPMAN, Cougar Park, Sunday August 13, 2017
TORONTO Wolfpack will have felt lucky to escape Cougar Park with a point on a day where they were far from the better side against the Keighley Cougars.
A dramatic last-minute penalty from Matty Beharrell saw the Cougars snatch a well-deserved point and just rewards from what was the most committed performance that Craig Lingard will have had from his side all season.
The opening stages of the game were on an even keeling until the man in the middle ruled Nathan Conroy had played at a Greg Worthington grubber and wiped the tackle count, allowing Toronto to work the ball across to Jonny Pownall who scored from a lovely Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e offload.
Cougars took the lead shortly after when Hamish Barnes managed to spot a gap in the Wolfpack’s defensive line and raced through to score after Andy Sweet had consulted with his touch judge.
Lingard will have been overjoyed as his side extended their lead when Brendon Rawlins showed great vision to get an offload to the wing, where Vinny Finigan had the space and time to stroll in at the corner.
Toronto earned a penalty which led to their second try.
After the Cougars were penalised for a challenge in the air, Richard Whiting broke the line and offloaded at the last moment for Laulu-Togaga’e to touch down.
Toronto then retook the lead as QLT linked up with Steve Crossley in a downfield break before Blake Wallace’s last ditch offload attempt found Liam Kay for the winger to score despite a momentary juggle.
Whiting, who had earlier provided an assist, then grabbed a try from himself when he crashed over from close range after Ritchie Hawkyard had superbly held Blake Wallace up over the line moments earlier.
Keighley refused to go down without a fight and showed their resilience with a strong opening to the second half and, after Beharrell was penalised for offside in suspect fashion, justice was served as Adam Brook broke the line and put Hawkyard underneath the posts.
The Cougars onslaught was halted when Pownall intercepted a Ryder pass and raced 80 metres before a forward-looking pass from Whiting was missed by the officials in the build-up to Greg Worthington touching down.
Finigan then made it squeaky bum time for the visitors as, from an Adam Ryder pass, he faced down QLT one on one and opted to bend the ball round him with the boot before racing round to ground and close the gap to just two points.
The Wolfpack were penalised for offside in the game’s closing moments and it proved costly.
Beharrell coolly slotted over from 40 metres out to bring the curtain down on a dramatic afternoon of Rugby League.
GAME BREAKER: Matty Beharrell’s 80th minute penalty kick shared the spoils and was drama of the highest order at Cougar Park.
GAMESTAR: It comes as no surprise that the Cougars’ upturn in form has come at the same time as Ritchie Hawkyard’s return from injury and the full-back was influential once more.
22 Ritchie Hawkyard
5 Davey Dixon
34 Hamish Barnes
32 Adam Ryder
26 Vinny Finigan
14 Adam Brook
7 Matty Beharrell
8 Scott Law
17 Nathan Conroy
19 Matthew Bailey
25 Ben Sagar
12 Brendon Rawlins
13 Mike Emmett
Subs (all used)
1 Harry Aaronson
9 James Feather
36 Trae O’Sullivan
37 Gavin Reed
Tries: Barnes (11), Finigan (17, 72), Hawkyard (48)
Goals: Beharrell (5/5)
1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Jonny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall
5 Liam Kay
6 Blake Wallace
27 Ryan Brierley
8 Fuifui Moimoi
9 Bob Beswick
29 Jake Emmitt
17 Richard Whiting
12 James Laithwaite
13 Jack Bussey
Subs (all used)
7 Rhys Jacks
10 Dan Fleming
19 Steve Crossley
21 Adam Sidlow
Tries: Pownall (7), Laulu-Togaga’e (26), Kay (31), Whiting (36), Worthington (54).
Goals: Hall 3/5
Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Keighley Cougars: Ritchie Hawkyard
Toronto Wolfpack: Richard Whiting
Penalty count: 10-12
Referee: Andy Sweet
SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-4, 6-4, 12-4, 12-10, 12-16, 12-22; 18-22, 18-26, 24-26, 26-26.