Skolars Dion Chapman Selected for England Students Squad

Two local players have made the England Students squads which will be taking part in a Four Nations competition in June. Ryan Chesters, from St Mary’s University College and Dion Chapman of Southgate College are both props who are currently honing their skills at a higher level with Hemel Stags and London Skolars respectively.

Dion, who is studying for an NVQ apprenticeship in sport at Southgate College, began playing at a young age thanks to one of the London Skolars community coaches coming to his north London school and introducing the pupils to the game.

At the age of 11 he was invited down to the Skolars club and has been there ever since, slotting in at either centre, back row or prop. He signed a first team contract with the club at the start of the season and has already played against London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique.

“It’s been a major step up,” admits Dion. “It’s a lot faster and more physical.”

Dion and Ryan attended their first England Students training session last week and both were impressed with the set up. “I really enjoyed that first England session,” said Dion.”It was a real eye opener with some great coaching.”

Last Wednesday, on BBC London’s Rugby League show, host Ian Ramsdale caught up with Skolars captain Dave Williams. If you missed the interview here’s a chance for you to catch up on how Dave has seen the season to date. He spoke first of all about the 20-20 all draw against Oldham the previous weekend who, going into the game, were joint top of the table.

“We’re pretty disappointed with it really, we felt we got into a position where should have won the game and switched off in last few minutes and let them get a draw. It felt like a bit of a loss in the end but when you think about it, they were joint top of the league so not a bad result when you think about it that way.”

“People from outside are looking in and comparing our results to last year and think we’re doing quite well but for us, we’re a different group of players this year and if anything we feel we are underperforming with some of our results. We’ve only won one game so far this year and we feel like we should have done a bit better.”

“We got a win early and that was good. The last few results have been a little disappointing in that we haven’t been able to back it up with another win but we’ve had some tough away games, we just need to pick up that second win and see if we can get a few more wins on the board.”

With three defeats on their travels so far, including a heavy defeat at Doncaster on Good Friday, the question was asked as to why there has been such a disparity between the home form, which has seen them drop just one point and the away form, where they are still without a win.

“I wish I could tell you, if I knew that it wouldn’t be happening. It is tough travelling up there but it’s something we should be used to, we’ve done it enough and for some reason we haven’t clicked when we’re up there. We had a decent go up at Workington and probably should’ve come away with a bit more than we did. We’ve got another trip coming up to Whitehaven in our next game so hopefully we can put that right but it’s just something were going to have to learn to deal with and to get around the travelling because being in the position that we’re in, we can’t use it as an excuse the whole year saying we’ve got to travel a long way and that’s why we’re not winning games.”

With people outside of the club picking up on a positive vibe coming from the Skolars this season, Williams was asked if this was being felt within the Club to which he commented,

“It shows how positive things are when we are talking about how disappointed we are with a draw against Oldham and that we haven’t quite turned close losses into wins because in past years we probably would have been happy if we were picking up any wins or drawing with anyone was a good result.”

Williams made 20 appearances in the Super League for Harlequins and during his time with them, also made 15 appearances on loan for the Skolars before becoming the Skolars first signing ahead of the 2012 season. Head Coach Joe Mbu made him the Skolars captain for the 2012 season, a role in which he is relishing.

“I’m enjoying it; hopefully the boys think I’m doing all right as well. We’ve got plenty of players down there who help out and there are a lot of players that will take on that leadership as well so it’s not just all on my shoulders.”

You can listen again to the BBC London Rugby League Show which went out at 9pm on Wednesday and also featured an interview with ex-Skolars player Gareth Honor, by going to www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/lrl.

The London Skolars ‘A’ team began their Southern Premier campaign on Saturday with a win over last year’s Premiers, Hammersmith Hills Hoists. In a sometimes brutal game, the sides toiled in the rain, with both sets of players putting in some massive hits. It was always going to be a case of the side that played the conditions best would come out on top. The Skolars managed to maintain possession in the first half and forced some errors from the Hammersmith side to turn over the ball frequently. The home side quickly turned the territory into points and went in at half time 16-0 up with tries from Will Colleran, Louis Robinson and Austen Aggrey, Michael Cawthorn goaling twice.

The second half saw the surface become boggy and the game turn into a war of attrition. The amount of defending Hammersmith did in the first half caught up with them and the Skolars went further ahead through Danny Burke, Smokie Junor and Lameck Juma, Cawthorn adding a further two goals. Hammersmith got a deserved try for their efforts midway through the second half and, although the final score line of 32-4 might suggest otherwise, more than played their part in a very physical encounter.

London Skolars ‘A’

1. Will Colleran
2. Smokie Junor
3. Dave Arnot
4. Chris McNamara
5. Aaron Small
6. James Fletcher
7. Michael Cawthorn
8. Austen Aggey
9. Danny Burke
10. Louis Robinson
11. Ollie Bloom
12. Jaroslaw Obuchowski
13. Joe Mbu
14. Angelo Thomas
15. Paul Hyder
16. Dion Chapman
17. Dalton Van Loggerenberg
18. Cameron Gall
19. Lameck Juma

Tries: Aggrey, Burke, Colleran, Juma, Junor, Robinson

Goals: Robinson 0/1, Cawthorn 4/5

This weekend, the London Skolars ‘A’ team take on last year’s Premiers, Hammersmith Hills Hoists in the opening round of the Southern Premier competition on Saturday 28th April at New River Stadium (2.30pm kick off).

The teams have already met in 2012, in last week’s 9s festival at Hammersmith’s home ground in Acton, with the West London outfit narrowly winning their semi-final against Skolars and going on to win the competition outright for the third year in a row.

With the Skolars first team having a bye weekend due to their Challenge Cup exit it’s a great opportunity to come and support the Skolars ‘A’ as they look to start their season well!

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