Due to other commitments this would be my last game at the New River Stadium, results wise it hasn’t been the best summer for Skolars, but I can honestly say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my rugby league in 2021! Before this match Skolars had 3 wins from 14 and Cougars 7 from 14. Sadly, as a Skolars fan, this game went as might be expected with that form in mind.

Aaron Levy opened the Cougars account after a 20/40 kick, a move I’m not sure I’ve seen this season, it was introduced for this season as scrums were removed from the game. That gave Cougars good possession in the Skolars half and Levy capitalised with 11 minutes on the clock. One try often leads to another, but this time it was a try for Skolars, as 5 minutes later Jerome Yates touched down. Neil Thorman converted the try which put Skolars ahead by 2.

Penalty kicks at goal are unusual in rugby league, but we saw 2 for Skolars after they were awarded a couple of penalties within kicking distance. The score moved to Skolars 10 Cougars 4.

Kyle Kesik who was to make himself known for good reasons later was heard chivvying his team on, the swearing wasn;t the best to hear but it ultimately proved to be effective. We seemed to be in some sort of drop zone as Skolars fumbled the ball on more than one occasion, and Cougars did the same after a great run by Robert Matamosi, all that effort coming to nothing with the fumble. However the Cougars were in attack again after a Skolars mistake close to their own line. The attempted try was held up, I did have to chuckle to myself when the travelling fans felt they could see better than the officials, they’re a loud and enthusiastic bunch the Cougars fans!

Things got harder for Skolars when Jacob Ogden put in an unnecessary late/high tackle, he was shown yellow, leaving his team a man down for 10 minutes. A Cougars kick was dropped in goal by Skolars and Matt Bailey was there to pounce on the ball, the successful conversion put teh teams on 10 apiece. We were nearly 40 minutes in but stoppages extended the half.

Kesik showed great skill for the next 2 Cougars tries, with 2 cracking kicks, Jake Arnold benefited from the first which really was a great kick and Taylor Prell the second, both tries were converted which put the scored on Skolars 10 Cougars 22 at half-time.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts in the second half for Skolars as they fumbled the ball early in the tackle count, the ball wad then fumbled as that man Kesik kicked again, Ryan Wright touched down to extend the lead for Cougars.

We then had an unusually long spell without a try as the teams pretty much swapped mistakes, Charlie Graham had a great run for Cougars but dropped the ball, Lous Singleton knocked on as he was passing for Skolars too. It was 26 minutes before another try was scored and it was Prell again, out on the wing this time he had an easy walk in to touch down.

Skolars had the last word scoring wise as Paulus Latu went over from close to the line, a powerful player he’d be very hard to stop from that position, Things had become a bit fractious as the game was coming to a close and somehow Mike Greenalgh managed to get a yellow card as the game was finishing.

This was my last game, but Skolars have 2 to go, they go away to Barrow Raiders and welcome Workington Town to White Hart Lane on September 4th. I’m sure their report card will read – could do better – but there are may positives to take from the season, abd I look forward to 2022!

My photos didn’t quite work – but here’s a selection from the game –

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