19th March 2019



BetFred League 1 – 16 March 2019

London Skolars 18 Keighley Cougars 18


Skolars were left be ruing missing out a first home league win of the season, after taking twelve point lead at half-time into the wind, but then failing to score a point in the second half with the strong wind behind them.


Keighley’s only first half points came from a bizarre Skolars’ error. Keighley kicked deep into Skolars’ in-goal area and, as Craig Mullen tried to get out of trouble by passing to Joe Brown, his pass deflected off the post protectors and Ben Hardcastle pounced onto the ball before Skolars could react.


The full-back, on dual registration from Wigan Warriors made amends when he found a gap in the visitors’ defence. The best try of the day started when Neil Thorman put in a short pass to Dan Hindmarsh, who raced 50 metres downfield, before offloading to Joe Brown to score in the left corner on his debut for Skolars (also being on dual registration from Wigan). With the swirling wind against him, Thorman judged his touchline conversion to perfection.


The first penalty of the game has only come in the nineteenth minute and the off-ball fracas that broke out late in the first half was in contrast to the rest of the game. Mike Greenhalgh and Josh Lynam were given ten minutes for their involvement. Skolars extended their lead two minutes later when Jordan Williams raced onto Richard Wilkinson’s grubber kick into the in-goal area. Thorman’s conversion put the home side 18-6 up at the break.


Cougars had often kicked too deep with the wind behind them, giving Skolars’ several seven tackle sets, but Jack Miller’s 40-20 kick late in the first half saw them start a set 15 metres out. Jack Coventry was held-up over the line, but the kick at the end of the set was again overhit.


Leading 18-6 at half-time, Skolars now had the wind behind them, but they gave away a couple of penalties after the restart and it took some good defence to hold Jason Muranka up over the line. However, when Jack Miller swerved his way past the defence to score under the posts, Hardcastle’s conversion put Keighley firmly back into contention.


Skolars forced two goal-line drop-outs, but they could make the possession count and their best chance came when the line was beckoning as the ball was moved out to Jacob Ogden, but the final pass drifted in front of him.


Cougars put both hookers onto the field to maximise their attacking options, That paid off when Aaron Levy crashed through the defence with Hardcastle’s conversion levelling the scores with five minutes remaining.


Skolars moved into a good position for a drop-goal when they next gained possession. Meadows’ attempt at a drop-goal was deflected by a Keighley hand. That meant a drop-out and Skolars ought to have been able to start another set deep in the Cougars’ half. However, the visitors kicked the resulting drop-out short and managed to gain possession. They advanced downfield, but Hardcastle’s drop-goal attempt into the wind just drifted wide



1 Craig Mullen

2 Iliess Macani

4 Omari Caro

3 Jacob Ogden

20 Joe Brown

14 Richard Wilkinson

7 James Meadows

16 Will Martin

9 Neil Thorman

10 Malikhi Lloyd-Jones

12 Michael Greenhalgh

11 Jordan Williams

13 Dan Hindmarsh


Subs (all used)

15 Isaac Ah Kuoi-Atmore

18 Eddie Mbaraga

8 Michael Sykes

22 Lamont Bryan


Tries: Mullen (12), Brown (30), Williams (34)

Goals: Thorman 3/3

Sin-bin: Greenhalgh (32) – fighting



21 Matt Welham

5 David Dixon

4 Will Cooke

23 Macauley Hallett

1 Alfie Seeley

15 Jack Miller

7 Benn Hardcastle

19 Matt Bailey

9 James Feather

30 Harvey Hallas

11 Josh Lynam

13 Jason Muranka

29 James Beckett


Subs (all used)

8 Jack Coventry

12 Aaron Levy

17 Billy Gayler

27 Lewis Wray


Tries: Hardcastle (2), Miller (48), Levy (75)

Goals: Hardcastle 3/3

Sin-bin: Lynam (32) – fighting


Penalty count: 2-7

Half-time: 18-6

Referee: Matt Rossleigh

Attendance: 262


SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 6-6, 12-6, 18-6; 18-12, 18-18


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