Cougars Prevail In Friday Night Oldham Tussle

Not blogged for over a month! And it's not as if there's been a scarcity of things to tell you about. Perhaps that's been the problem - too busy to post. Anyway, here I am now with news of photographing … rugby league!

Cougars' try in three pictures: an arm reaches beyond the defenders…

It first began with a couple of Leeds Rhinos Women matches and then a few enquiries to see if it might be possible to photograph my local Division One side, Keighley Cougars. In the end, the opportunity came quite suddenly when the Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspaper asked if I was available to cover the Cougars' Friday night game as their regular photographer was on holiday. Wasn't going to turn that one down!

…it slides down the post and onto the ground, the scorer still hidden …

The Cougars have been going through a hard time recently. Financial difficulties had brought the club to the brink of extinction so hopes were not high among the home faithful. A number of players had left and the opposition were up in third place, several places higher in the league than Keighley.

… and finally a smiling face appears: Mike Emmett

The good news began with a pre-match announcement - a new organisation had taken over the club, bringing financial salvation and plans for a brighter future. The game itself was a tight affair with few opportunities for either side as both defences stayed strong. Oldham did get over the line but the home side were able to draw level with a try under the posts (right next to a post actually). From then on the Cougars defended stoutly, taking penalty points when they arose, slowly building a lead and winning out in the end. You can read a full match report (and see no fewer than fourteen of my pictures) here.

Let the Celebrations Begin!

It was a dull, damp evening quite unlike the previous weeks of sunshine and heat. However, shouts and cheers from players and crowd alike lit up the place. It was a victory the club really needed and the celebrations reflected a mixture of joy and relief. Due to the weather, many of my action shots were rather grainy but the post match happy faces more than made up for that.

A really nice post script in the form of a tweet from the club: "Thank you. Your photos have proven a real hit with our players and coaches." It went on to say that I would be welcome to photograph future matches and concluded: "It was a superb night, the scenes at full time were definitely a sign that we've turned the corner after a difficult few weeks."

You can see more pictures from the night over in the ickledot shop.