Ipro Sports Cup Semi final thriller

3rd May 2016

London Skolars 22 Keighley Cougars 31

An emotional day saw a thrilling semi-final. It was 52 weeks after Danny Jones’ death and on Keighley’s first return to New River a memorial wreath was laid where Jones had collapsed at the side of the pitch (the dugouts have moved sides this year). A memorial plaque will also be displayed in Skolars’ soon to be opened new clubhouse. A large Keighley contingent travelled to the capital to pay their respects, including 16 of the first team squad that were not in the 17 on the field.

The visitors put their emotions to one side on kick-off and, after holding Skolars following a Sam Druce break, they went ahead when Hamish Barnes managed to burrow his way through on the right flank.
Skolars soon forced a goal-line drop out with Jy-Mel Colemans’ kick glancing off the posts, and soon afterwards moved the ball to the left for John Paxton to leap over in the corner, just grounding the ball before rolling into touch. After his perfect 10 last week, Mike Bishay missed the conversion which looked to be vital for a large part of the game.

Scott Law looked to have been stopped close to the tryline, but Skolars didn’t complete the tackle and the prop kept moving to touchdown, Adam Brook adding the conversion. Late in the second half Skolars again narrowed the deficit to two points when Aaron Small took the ball 15 metres and brushed away the defence.

Skolars received the kick-off at the start of the second half, but were penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball after the first tackle. Cougars took full advantage with Darren Hawkyard opening a gap in defence in centrefield.

Liam Darville made a good run inside his opponents half, with Keighley forcing a goal line drop out. But they couldn’t take advantage of that second set of six and the Londoners responded again with Ben Pointer stretching out in the tackle to get the ball on the tryline. But they gave away another penalty when possession, this time for dissent. Ritchie Hawkyard cut through the defence to extend the margin again.

Cougars had to defend after Small stole the ball close to their line. They held out from that and from a John Paxton run, but couldn’t stop Small leaping to take a Bishay kick to the corner. Bishay’s conversion again narrowed the gap to two points and left the game nicely poised with twelve minutes remaining.

However, Skolars knocked on from the kick-off. The resultant possession saw Brook’s kick take a slight deflection off the post protectors and Ritchie Hawkyard was following up to touch down. Brook’s fourth conversion of the day. Brook’s late drop goal made certain of the trip to Blackpool through there was still time for Erjon Dollapi and Ritchie Hawkyard to be sin-binned second before full-time in an otherwise clean game.

1 Alex Antony
2 Sam Nash
3 Aaron Small
4 Joe Price
5 John Paxton
18 Jy-Mel Coleman
7 Mike Bishay
23 Ben Gray
9 Sam Druce
11 Toby Everett
10 Dave Williams
12 Will Lovell
16 Ryan Chester

14 Ben Pointer
8 Michael Sykes
19 Erjon Dollapi
17 Kazeem Faturoti

Tries: Paxton (16), Small (35,68), Pointer (52)
Goals: Bishay 3/4

22 Ritchie Hawkyard
26 Vinny Finigan
23 Charlie Martin
29 Hamish Barnes
5 Paul White
14 Adam Brook
24 Liam Darville
8 Scott Law
9 James Feather
12 Brendon Rawlins
11 Josh Lynam
17 John OIakes
13 Ash Lindsay

Subs (all used)
20 Aaron Ollett
16 Jode Sherrife
15 Neil Cherryholme
25 Darren Hawkyard

Tries: Barnes (5), Law (22),D Hawkyard (41), R Hawkyard (57,71)
Goals: Brook 5/5
Drop-goal: Brook

Penalty count: 11-10

Half-time: 10-12
Referee: Tom Grant
Attendance: 436

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 4-6, 4-12, 10-12, 10-18, 16-18, 16-24, 22-24, 22-30, 22-31

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