Crowd trouble mars Keighley Cougars' success

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

Several people were taken to hospital after control barriers collapsed during the Keighley Cougars' Divisional Premiership semi-final tie against Hull at Cougar Park yesterday, which the Cougars won 41-28. Police also made many arrests during after crowd trouble, which included a pitch invasion midway through the first half.

A surge of Hull fans forced the barriers behind the post to collapse 24 minutes into the game. After a 28-minute delay play resumed with the Cougars leading 20-0 after a flying start with tries from Martin Wood, Simon Irving, Jason Critchley and Keith Dickson, whose touchdown sparked the disturbance.

Hull gave themselves hope when man of the match Mark Hewotti went over to make the half time score 28-6.

Their resurgence continued in the second half as they ran in four quick tries. Gary Divorty led the way with two, following a try each to Gareth Stephens and John Aston.

However two second half tries to the Cougars through Critchley and Phil Cantillon plus three Simon Irving conversions and a drop goal from Jason Ramshaw, saw the Cougars home.

They now face their second successive Premiership Final at Old Trafford, where they will meet Salford next Sunday.

Four tries from John Hopoate helped Manly claim first place in the Australian (ARL) standings as they completed their regular season matches with a 48-10 defeat of lowly South Sydney on Sunday.

Manly, coached by Australia boss Bob Fulton, lived up to their early season status as favourites by running in nine tries in all to end their campaign two points clear of Brisbane who secured second place with a 38-6 defeat of Auckland on Friday.

North Sydney beat Gold Coast 38-8 for third place while Sydney City managed to reverse a recent slump in form to beat Sydney Tigers 24-10 and grab fourth place. Cronulla secured fifth place with a 22-0 defeat of Newcastle on Saturday, with Canberra sixth after trouncing South Queensland 36-10 yesterday. On Friday, St George eased past Western Reds 22-16 for seventh while Western Suburbs claimed eighth place by beating Illawarra 12-8.

The top eight sides in the standings now go through to the ARL's play- offs which begin next week. The top four have two chances of reaching the final while the bottom four play sudden-death matches. Manly play Sydney City next Sunday while Brisbane take on North Sydney on Saturday.