Backs inspire Thunder victory

Backs Kevin Till and Mark Christensen, both scored two tries as Gateshead Thunder won their bottom four Co-op National League Two clash against Keighley Cougars by 20 points at the Thunderdome yesterday.

Backs Kevin Till and Mark Christensen, both scored two tries as Gateshead Thunder won their bottom four Co-op National League Two clash against Keighley Cougars by 20 points at the Thunderdome yesterday.

The Cougars finished with 11 men after Wayne Sutcliffe and Mick Foggarty were sin-binned as Thunder avenged two Northern Rail Cup defeats by Keighley.

Gateshead led by 18 points at the interval with 14 of them coming in the last 10 minutes.

The first quarter appeared to heading for stalemate when full-back Neil Thorman threw a dummy to hit the line out wide.

Strong defence then kept the Cougars at bay before Ryan Smith made a hash of a Tim Martin bomb and Till scored the easiest of tries.

Keighley were then incensed when a Thunder knock-on in the melee near the line went unpunished and Australian centre Mark Christensen dived over to extend the home lead.

Keighley threatened a comeback in the third quarter when the concession of two penalties allowed Richard Knight and centre Mick Foggarty to score.

Christensen's second of the game however restored Gateshead's belief and composure.

The recently-returned Australian went past two weak challenges after Keighley had been penalised for lying on.

It was then all over when hooker Nick Hyde broke down the middle to put the supporting Till between the posts.

Keighley were on the end of a crippling 14-5 penalty count against a Thunder side who emerged good value for victory. Thorman added a 73rd-minute penalty for good measure as the home fans among the 277 crowd, celebrated on the hooter.

Bradford Bulls kept up the pressure on the Super League leaders with a 44-19 rout of Harlequins - mainly thands to a hat-trick from the departing Lesley Vainikolo. In yesterday's other game at the top Leeds Rhinos battled to an 18-10 win against Hull KR at a cold and wet Craven Park.

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