This was forecast as being the wettest Sunday for weeks as, somewhat appropriately, Newcastle Thunder made the trip south to face Keighley Cougars. Judging by the league table it was going to be close as the two sides occupied adjoining positions.
According to the Keighley News report, an additional problem for the Cougars was a long injury list, meaning that the 17 players, starters and subs, were the only ones available for selection. The news didn't get any better for home fans as the visitors went ahead with a converted try after only a few minutes play.
The rain stopped, there were even a few patches of sunlight, and home hopes were lifted as the Cougars responded with a try of their own down the left. They went further ahead with a try from debutant Alfie Seeley. I had shots of the first try but they weren't great and by the time Alfie crossed the line I was on the opposite 22.
Start of the second half the Cougars were still on the attack, Benn Hardcastle picking up points from penalties. Then came what I judge to be my most dramatic shots of the afternoon as Richie Hawkyard beat the last tackler and dived over just to my left. Really pleased with his delighted expression and also his celebrations with teammates.
Thunder went on the attack in the closing moments and I certainly felt the tension of two weeks ago when a Cougars lead had dissolved with four minutes left. This time, although Thunder pulled back points, the Cougars stood strong and maintained their lead to the end. There were smiles all round and everyone was clearly delighted with the win after a tough few weeks both on and off the field.
Was pleased with two or three portrait shots at the end and several players obliged with a variety of poses. All in all, a great day out. And the rain held off! You can see (and possibly download) more pictures from the game here.