London Skolars 16 Whitehaven 62

Skolars were knocked out of the Northern Rail Cup after conceding 11 tries to a powerful Whitehaven side. However, they will still be playing on finals day, having won their group in the qualifying stages they will play North Wales Crusaders in the Northern Rail Bowl.

They were outmuscled by a big Cumbrian pack that could also call on St Helens second rower Paul Clough on dual registration loan. Two Papua New Guinea internationals opened the scoring for the visitors, Jessie Joe Parker picking up a loose ball to race to the line from halfway for the first and big prop Rodney Pora crashed through for the second.

Skolars had a couple of chances, but Alex Anthony’s pass to John Paxton went forward and James Roche was ruled offside when he crossed the line after following up an Andy McLean kick.

Haven took full control in the later stages of the first half, running in five further tries to go in 0-40 up at half-time, with Chris Fleming scoring a brace.

Skolars showed more resolve in the second half. Dave Williams got over the tryline but couldn’t ground the ball. Cariern Clement-Pascall intercepted to stop a near certain try, but no-one could stop Parker leaping to catch a cross-field kick from former England international Jamie Rooney to score his second try.

Clement-Pascall broke the defence for Joe Price to open Skolars’ scoring, but Parker completed his hat-trick soon afterwards. John Paxton scored in the corner and Clement-Pascall added Skolars’ third try late on, but James Newton’s try just before the hooter meant that the journey back to Cumbria would be a happy one for the visitors.

Skolars’ coach Joe Mbu was left ruing his side’s inability to complete sets in the first half. “We completed four sets to their twelve, with four unforced errors and that meant we had to do too much defensively.”


22 Alex Anthony

24 Jimmy Morgan

18 Chris McNamara

  3 Joe Price

  4 John Paxton

26 Andy McLean

  7 Dylan Skee

13 Olly Purslow

21 Evan Simons

30 Michael Sykes

20 Cariern Clement-Pascall

12 Mike Worrincy

19 James Roche


Subs (all used)

10 David Williams

25 Dion Chapman

16 Louis Robinson

27 Mike Bishay

Tries: Price (56), Paxton (64), Clement-Pascall (76)

Goals: Skee 2/3



  1 Neil Thorman

  5 Chirs Fleming

15 Brad Crellin

  3 Jessie Joe Parker

  2 James Cameron

  6 Jamie Rooney

  7 Cain Southernwood

33 Rodney Pora

14 James Newton

  8 Dave Houghton

12 Reece Clark

29 Paul Clough

13 Lee Paterson


Subs (all used)

  9 Carl Sice

19 Paul Culnean

28 Jordan Hand

31 Carl Forster


Tries: Parker (13,52,61), Pora (17), Houghton (22), Southernwood (26), Fleming (32,35), Cullnean (40), Forster (70), Newton (79)

Goals: Rooney 9/11


Penalty count: 3-8


Half-time: 0-40

Referee: Joe Cobb

Attendance: 276


SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 0-24, 0-30, 0-34, 0-40, 0-44, 6-44, 6-50, 10-50, 10-56, 16-56, 16-62


A five try burst in the third quarter gave Skolars a win against second placed Oxford after trailing 6-18 at half-time.

Skolars dominated the early period of the game, but made unforced errors when in good positions, including Oxford’s opening try when Sean Morris intercepted Dylan Skee’s pass to race 65 metres to the tryline.

Skee made some amends when he bundled Lucas Onyango into touch close to the Skolars’ tryline, but Oxford attacks built up pressure and after forcing two goal line drop outs, they scored again with Brett Robinson slipping the ball out to Onyango to go over the line on the right.

Skolars woes were increased when they kicked out on the full from the restart, but after conceding a third goal line drop out, they counterattacked with Skee releasing Mike Worrincy to score. Shaun Robinson re-established the 12 point lead late in the first half and might have scored a further try had it not been for a fine tackle by Alex Hurst.

The game changed completely after the restart. Skolars almost scored in their first set, Mike Channing passing to Ade Adebisi, but the winger was bundled into touch. A minute later there was no mistake when the two players combined again, Adebisi scoring in the corner that time. With Martyn Smith making constant inroads from dummy half and regular trangressions by Oxford (an 8-1 penalty count against them in the second half), Skolars began to take control. It wasn’t long before Skolars had narrowed the gap to 2 points, a burst from Rob Thomas leading to a try for Joe Price.

A scuffle at a tackle between Onyango and Adebisi saw several other players plough in and whilst neither of those originally involved were spoken to, James Anthony and Brett Robinson received their marching orders. Skolars received the penalty and Thomas made another barnstorming run to score. Suddenly Skolars had taken the lead and the home crowd finally started to cheer.

Thomas added a second try before a comedy of errors saw a loose ball hacked 10 metres down the wing by Erjon Dollapi, with Alex Hurst following up to ground the ball, a decision that was not popular with the Oxford players or the fans, who were passionate throughout, impressive for such a new club.

Oxford raised their game again and their confidence was helped by a superb from Jonny Leather who picked up the ball behind his own line before running the length of the field to score. Two minutes later John Clough narrowed the gap to two points and almost scored again from the set of six from the restart, but was stopped 10 metres out on the last tackle.

Thomas then completed his hat-trick, just managing to ground the ball after driving over from five metres out. However, when Shaun Robinson scored his second try of the day three minutes later, Oxford were still in with a chance, helped further when Skee again kicked out on the full. Oxford couldn’t keep possession and then conceded a penalty. Skee kicked his sixth goal of the day, but with a six point margin there was still a chance for the visitors. However, an attempted short kick-off didn’t go 10 metres and Skolars were able to run down the clock for a hard-fought victory.

Joe Mbu felt that Skolars “still have a long way to go. We need the killer instinct when we have a team on the backfoot. We let our foot off the accelerator and almost let them back in.”

After scoring three tries and setting up a fourth, Rob Thomas won the Man of The Match Award, sponsored by The Mall, Wood Green.

1 James Anthony
4 John Paxton
29 Alex Hurst
3 Joe Price
5 Ade Adebisi
26 Andy McLean
7 Dylan Skee
13 Olly Purslow
21 Evan Simons
28 Erjon Dollapi
20 Cariern Clement-Pascall
12 Mike Worrincy
10 David Williams

Subs (all used)
9 Martyn Smith
8 Rob Thomas
16 Louis Robinson
27 Mike Channing

Tries: Worrincy (27), Adebisi (42), Price (45), Thomas (50,54,69), Hurst (59)
Goals: Skee 6/8
Sent-off: Anthony (49) – fighting

1 Johnny Leather
2 Lucas Onyango
4 Oli Johnson
32 Sean Morris
5 Shaun Robinson
6 Tommy Connick
7 Brett Robinson
16 Matty Hadden
9 John Clough
15 Glenn Osborn
12 John James Baird
23 Danny Halliwell
29 Martin Roden

Subs (all used)
17 Kenny Calladine
11 Alan Blewitt
21 Andrew Hoggins
19 Ian Burch

Tries: Morris (11), Onyango (21), S Robinson (35,72), Leather (63), Clough (65)
Goals: Leather (5/6)
Sent-off: B Robinson (49) – fighting

Penalty count: 10-4

Half-time: 6-18
Referee: Peter Brooke
Attendance: 409

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 6-18, 10-18, 16-18, 22-18, 28-18, 32-18, 32-24, 32-30, 38-30,38-34, 40-34

After last weekend’s home defeat in the Northern Rail Cup to Whitehaven it’s back to Championship 1 action this Sunday when Oxford Rugby League are the visitors.

Oxford were one of three new teams admitted to Championship 1 this season and, under the guidance of former Skolars and Oldham coach Tony Benson, they have made a very impressive start to the season having won three of their five league games to date. With an additional two bonus points earned in their defeats Oxford are currently second in the table with 11 points so Joe Mbu knows that his side will face a stern test at New River on Sunday as Skolars look to climb the table.

Coming into the match Skolars have no major injury concerns and Joe Mbu expects to name a strong squad for the encounter. Kick-off is at 3pm and the Olympic Bar will be open from 1pm with a selection of real ales available.

Skolars under 12’s, who recorded their first league win of the season last weekend , travel to take on Charlton Gunners in a rearranged fixture.

The 14’s 19’s and ‘A’s don’t have fixtures but Matt Cuss’s 19’s travel to Medway to face South London in the final of the Lion Trust Youth & Junior Challenge Cup, KO 2pm. Hpopefully the 19’s can bring home the first silverware of the season and the squad will be presented to the crowd at half-time in Sundays Championship 1 fixture, win or lose.

Now that Skolars have qualified to appear at Halifax on Northern Rail Finals day on the 20th July tickets for the event have already gone on sale and are being snapped up.

We are selling adult tickets, priced at £15 and concession tickets priced at £10. All Skolars supporters purchasing Finals day tickets will be sat together in the West Stand at the Shay Stadium.

We are also offering supporters the chance to travel up on a supporter’s coach to Halifax and places on the coach can be booked online now, priced at £35 each for the return journey from New River to Halifax.

We want to take a small army of noisy Skolars Fans with to make it a truly memorable occasion.

To book your adult Finals ticket just click here

To book your concession Finals ticket click here

To book your coach travel click here

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