Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sunday's Coming: Keighley

Nearly there folks...

Keighley's pre-season preparation stumbled at the first hurdle last week when their game at Halifax was called off on Saturday morning due to a contentiously waterlogged Shay pitch.

Indeed, Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett found it odd that West Yorkshire how seems to have distinctly different climate zones. Speaking in the Telegraph & Argus he said: “In my view, Halifax must have had considerably more rain than Keighley… because certainly Cougar Park wasn’t waterlogged…"

So - freaky weathwer premitting -  Paul March has to wait a week to run the rule over his enhanced squad.

Having secured Keighley's Championship status on the final day of the 2013 campaign, 2014 will be a big year for March, who has announced that this season will bring down the curtain on  a 'colourful' playing career that began with a Challenge Cup appearance for at Wakefield in 1998.
Our artist's impression of how the revamped Cougar Park
might possibly look - in a parallel universe.
Rather than make wholesale changes, March has added a handful of players in key positions. Former Castleford and York hooker Jack Lee, Ex-Huddersfield utility back Lewis Graham, ex-Batley loose forward Ash Lindsay and ex-Dewsbury full-back James Craven have all made the trip across to Cougar Park, as has former Huddersfield Giants academy player Ross Peltier who's back in the UK after a stint in the Queensland Cup.

These apart, Keighley's key signing for the forthcoming season looks to be much travelled (Batley, Doncaster, Wakefield, Castleford, Fatherstone and Halifax) half-back Paul Handforth, who'll slot in alongside Danny Jones. That leaves the redoubtable March looking to "… utilise myself where I’m needed.”

But the really big off-season news from Keighley is their ambitious £5 million plan to develop Lawkholme Lane. With work planned over nine phases and scheduled to take five years, phase 1 includes a complete re-build of their venerable 1930s main stand to include seating for 870, with terracing in-front. Sounds like a great project.

For those of us who've been pacing the floor since the World Cup final, Sunday can't come quickly enough. See you all at Lawkholme Lane/Cougar Park - Hornets great 2014 Championship adventure begins here.

Hornets squad news for Sunday:

- New signings James Dandy, Sean Casey and Tony Suffolk are available for selection.
- Triallists available are: Sale Sharks Union convert Dan Waddy, BARLA international Ste Marsh, Lancashire amateur centre Andy Ball and former Catalan Dragon and Toulouse Olympique centre Julien Lasserre.
- Returning to Hornets are Adam Bowman and Casey Mayberry.

Not available:
 Liam Gilchrist (ankle) Chris Tyrer (groin), Tongan Sydney Havea (visa complications)