Cougars given competitive game at New River

24th May 2016

Kingstone Press League 1 – 21 May 2016

London Skolars 30 Keighley Cougars 20


Skolars gained revenge for their cup defeat by Keighley three weeks ago and improved their chances of reaching the top 8 play-offs with a dramatic win at New River.


The kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes after an ambulance was called following an injury in the earlier London Men’s League game. When the game got underway Skolars scored early, with new signing Ste Bannister offloading for Erjon Dollapi to score. Keighley counterattacked with Ash Lindsay going close. Alex Anthony went off with a pectoral injury after that move. With no backs on the bench, substitute hooker Billy Driver was put on the wing. He was involved soon afterwards, putting in a try saving tackle to deny Andy Gabriel.


Keighley had chances to score, but couldn’t make them count. When the ball ricocheted off Aaron Small’s leg, Paul Handforth gathered the ball but lost it over the line. A minute later and, after a penalty, Small finished off a move to the left corner for Skolars’ second try.


Skolars went further ahead just before the break when Israel Eliab raced onto a Jy-Mel Coleman kick into the in-goal area, Charlie Lawrence kicking his third conversion. They nearly ended up scoring again, Jy-Mel Coleman’s drop-goal attempt from 45 metres hitting the upright.


The Cougars’ fight-back started when Ross Peltier started a run from 25 metres out, unstoppable to the line with Skolars’ players clinging into him. After earning a penalty when a chaser was pulled back, Cougars narrowed the gap again, Ritchie Hawkyard slipping away from the tacklers to score on the left. With several players taking knocks there were several stoppages with the half taking 55 minutes.


The game looked to be moving inextricably Keighley’s way when Jamie Thackray disputed the referee’s call after an attempted offload and received a yellow card. The numerical advantage showed as Vinny Finigan dived over on the right. Three minutes later they took the lead when James Feather managed to come out of the scrum and then receive the first pass to race to the line, Adam Brook’s conversion going over after hitting the post.


There was more drama to come at the other end. Sam Druce spun in a tackle on the line before managing to stretch to ground the ball, Lawrence’s sole missed kick of the day left Skolars just two points ahead. After Lawrence had gone close, Keighley tried to get the ball away from their line. David Williams and Ben Gray put in a crunching tackle, which dislodged the ball. Williams touched down to the delight of the Skolars’ players and supporters. A penalty kick saw them go further ahead and any faint chance of another twist went when Ritchie Hawkyard was sin-binned after a minor fight.


Head Coach Jermaine Coleman was pleased with “a really good performance. There was a different tackling attitude after last week. We worked hard in adversity following the injury to Alex Anthony after three minutes”.



1 Alex Anthony

2 Sam Nash

3 Aaron Small

4 Israel Eliab

5 Lameck Juma

18 Jy-Mel Coleman

7 Charlie Lawrence

19 Erjon Dollapi

9 Sam Druce

11 Jamie Thackray

12 Ste Bannister

13 Eddie Mbaraga

10 Dave Williams



14 Billy Driver

23 Ben Gray

8 Michael Sykes

15 Mike Worrincy


Tries: Dollapi (3), Small (22), Eliab (37), Druce (67), Williams (73)

Goals: Lawrence 5/6

Sin-bin: Thackray (59) – dissent



22 Ritchie Hawkyard

2 Andy Gabriel

3 Rikki Sheriffe

4 Danny Lawton

26 Vinny Finigan

14 Adam Brook

7 Paul Handforth

8 Scott Law

9 James Feather

15 Neil Cherryholme

25 Darren Hawkyard

23 Charlie Martin

13 Ash Lindsay


Subs (all used)

19 Mathew Bailey

12 Brendon Rawlins

35 Riss Peltier

20 Aaron Ollett


Tries: Peltier (46), R Hawkyard (49), Finigan (62), Feather (65)

Goals: Brook 2/4

Sin-bin: R Hawkyard (78) – fighting


Penalty count: 8-12


Half-time: 18-0

Referee: Tom Grant

Attendance: 352


SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0, 18-4, 18-10, 18-14, 18-20, 22-20, 28-20, 30-20

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