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Derby rivals do us a couple of favours

DERBY rivals Rochdale Hornets and Swinton Lions did us a couple of favours yesterday (Saturday) with wins at Hunslet and London Skolars respectively.

Saturday’s Betfred League 1 results: 

  • Hunslet 24, Rochdale Hornets 32

  • West Wales Raiders 4, Cornwall 24

  • London Skolars 22, Swinton Lions 48

Still in seventh place, we are still one spot and four points outside the play-off zone, but we now have a game in hand on sixth-placed Hunslet and we remain above Midlands Hurricanes, Skolars, Cornwall and West Wales.

There are two games in League One today: Cougars v OLDHAM (kick-off 3pm at Cougar Park) and North Wales Crusaders v Doncaster (kick-off 2.30pm).

The referee at Keighley is one of the RFL’s younger match officials, Cameron Worsley from the Castleford and Featherstone Referees Society which has produced many top referees over the years.

He handled his first Betfred League 1 game when he was 17and he is now a Super League touch-judge after refereeing the 2019 Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Bolton when Leeds Rhinos beat Castleford.

 Keighley sit on top of the table with a 100 per cent record – ten games, ten wins – but Roughyeds are going over there in the knowledge that, on their last visit, they won 34-26 in a pre-season friendly on March 6.

Resilient Roughyeds hit back from an early 12-0 deficit to score six tries to five, after which head coach Stuart Littler said:

“After going behind early on, we showed a lot of togetherness and glimpses of what we are about.

“Keighley are a good side with a lot of quality and they are one of the favourites for promotion. I know they made a lot of changes at half-time and used 27 players in total, but we made a lot of changes as well. We are happy with the win, but we are under no illusions about how tough this season is going to be.”

Three weeks later, fielding their strongest available team, Cougars came to the Vestacare  on the opening day of the Betfred League 1 season and won 32-6.

Teams on that day were as follows:

OLDHAM: Restall; Brierley, Cooke, Hartley, Holcroft; Ridyard, Hewitt; Nelmes, Jinks, Newton, Thornton, Ferry, Whittel. Subs: Wright, Spencer, Andrade, Coventry.

KEIGHLEY: Young; Agoro, Roebuck, Graham, Stephenson; Miller, Murrell; Ho, Feather, Darley, Levy, Santi, Kesik. Subs: Desmond-Walker,  Bailey, Spence, Nettleton.

Fourteen of those players are included in the 21 for the Oldham game, but the other seven include big-name signings like Eddie Pennybourne, Junior Sa’u and Dane Chisholm.

It can safely be assumed that, on paper at least, Cougars will be stronger than they were on day one, but Roughyeds will also be much changed from back then. They will be going to Cougar Park as outsiders, but they wouldn’t be the first unfancied team to pull off a surprise win – and they won’t be the last!

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