Debbie Knight is named London Skolars King of the Fans

Championships sponsor Kingstone Press has named Debbie Knight as London Skolars King of the Fans – a season long hunt to find the best rugby league Championships supporters.

Debbie, from Billericay, was nominated for her commitment to London Skolars and passion for rugby league. A proud season ticket holder, Debbie promotes the club at every opportunity and attends every home game.

 On hearing the good news Debbie said: “I’m very passionate about rugby league and do everything I can to promote the sport in the south.  The sport is full of passion and you’ll never watch a boring rugby league game. London Skolars are doing a fantastic job here and I am proud to be their King of the Fans.”

As part of her prize, Debbie received a crate of cider and a family ticket to Championships Finals Day at Leigh yesterday, where she was welcomed onto the pitch at half time to fly the flag for London Skolars. She is now also a contender to be named ‘Ultimate King of the Fans’ at the Final along with another 22 Kings of the Fans crowned from across the other Championships clubs. In addition to the title, which is the first of its kind, the winning super fan will receive a year’s supply of cider and an England Rugby League money can’t buy prize.

Gordon Johncox, Kingstone Press Cider Managing Director, said:  “We are thrilled to name Debbie London Skolars King of the Fans and to highlight her admirable dedication to the club. Debbie truly deserves the title and we hope she enjoys Finals Day.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to the competition which has shown the passion and commitment the fans have for their clubs. It has been a perfect way to celebrate the Championships and importantly reward those loyal fans who come out week after week to support their clubs. We look forward to welcoming all fans from across the sport to Championships Finals Day and crowning the winners.”

Skolars’ hopes of reaching the promotion decider were dashed as they were overwhelmed by an 11 try display by Oldham.

With leading points scorer Dylan Skee watching from the sidelines after breaking his ankle, Skolars suffered further set backs before kick-off. Jermaine Wray failed a fitness test, followed by Joe Price damaging his hamstring in the warm-up. That meant Jaroslaw Obuchowski and James Roche coming to the 17.

When Oscar Thomas kicked off into touch the homeside took full advantage of the penalty, advancing upfield for Josh Crowley to crash over the tryline with only a minute of the game gone. Two further tries came from kicks with Jon Ford and Dale Bloomfield scoring on the left. Richard Lepori, back from international duties with Italy, weaved through the defence to put the home side 24 nil up after just 12 minutes.

Skolars finally enjoyed some possession and showed their creativity after moving the ball quickly to the left after a tap penalty for Alex Hurst to race through the defence for his 11th try of the season. James Anthony forced Oldham to concede goal line drop out and then a short kick from the full-back split the defence and John Paxton grounded for Skolars’ second try.

Oscar Thomas missed both conversions, but Skolars were still working hard to get back into the game. However, two tries late in the half for Jon Ford saw Oldham go in 38-8 ahead at the break.

After an early break from Sam Wellings, Skolars were defending for the first 20 minutes of the second half. James Anthony made a last ditch try saving tackle, but eventually the pressure told with Dave Cookson scoring down the right before Adam Files opened the defence in the centre. Skolars made another couple of good breaks, but Lepori showed why he may have just edged out Anthony for full-back spot in the end of the season Championship 1 Dream Team with a tackle to stop Gareth Raynor’s solo race to the line.

Adam Files added his second try, former Skolar Sam Gee set up Danny Langtrees’ try before Bloomfield scored just before the final hooter. Lewis Palfey missed that conversion, but had kicked all ten before that.

Dylan Skee and Rob Thomas have been named in the Championship 1 Dream Team, but that will have been scant consolation as Skolar’s most successful season came to a subdued conclusion.

Skee is one of three nominations for Championship 1 Player of the Year at Thursday’s KIngstone Press awards night, with Joe Mbu also in contention for Championship 1 Coach of the Year.

OLDHAM
1 Richard Lepori
2 Mo Agoro
21 David Cookson
25 Jon Ford
5 Dale Bloomfield
23 Lewis Palfrey
16 Kenny Hughes
18 Phil Joy
9 Sam Gee
10 Jason Boults
11 Josh Crowley
12 Danny Langtree
13 Mark Hobson

Subs (all used)
14 Adam Files
22 Liam Thompson
19 Michael Ward
28 Matthew Haggerty

Tries: Crowley (1), Ford (7,34,39), Bloomfield (9,80), Lepori (12), Cookson (52), Files (56,71), Langtree (76)
Goals: Palfrey 10/11

LONDON SKOLARS
1 James Anthony
2 Smokie Junor
4 John Paxton
29 Alex Hurst
33 Gareth Raynor
26 Andy McLean
32 Oscar Thomas
10 David Williams
9 Martyn Smith
30 Michael Sykes
12 Mike Worrincy
13 Olly Purslow
27 Sam Wellings

Subs (all used)
15 Jaroslaw Obuchowski
16 Louis Robinson
8 Rob Thomas

Tries: Hurst (23), Paxton (32)
Goals: O Thomas 0/2

Penalty count: 5-7

Half-time: 36-8
Referee: George Stokes
Attendance: 467

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0, 24-0, 24-4, 24-8, 30-8, 36-8, 42-8. 48-8, 54-8, 60-8, 64-8

Skolars Dylan Skee, who missed yesterday’s defeat at Oldham with a broken ankle, and Rob Thomas have both been selected for the Kingstone Press Championship 1 All Stars Team.

2013 Kingstone Press Championship League Leaders’ Shield winners Featherstone Rovers and Championship One winners North Wales Crusaders lead the way in this year’s Championship All Stars selections, with four and five representatives, respectively.

Featherstone have winger Will Sharp, prop Steve Crossley and loose forward James Lockwood in the squad alongside half-back Liam Finn, who makes his second consecutive appearance in the Championship All Star team.

2012 Championship winners Sheffield Eagles have three players in the squad with prop Mitchell Stringer and centre Menzie Yere joining full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who makes his second consecutive appearance in the all star 13.
Leigh Centurions have two players in the squad, with Stuart Littler joining hooker Bob Beswick, while Batley Bulldogs (Greg Johnson), Doncaster (Paul Cooke), Barrow Raiders (Liam Harrison) and Workington Town (Karl Olstrum) all have one player in the All Star selection.

In Kingstone Press Championship One, North Wales Crusaders have a quintet of representatives in the 13 with Rob Massam, Andy Moulsdale, Dave McConnell, Gary Middlehurst and Jono Smith all earning selection.
Oldham and London Skolars both have two representatives in the squad, with Oldham duo Richard Lepori and Jon Ford joining Skolars’ duo Dylan Skee and Rob Thomas.

Dalton Grant (South Wales Scorpions), Mason Caton-Brown (Hemel Stags), Warren Thompson (Rochdale Hornets) and Tyla Hepi (Gloucestershire All Golds) complete the Championship One All Star squad.

Kingstone Press Championship All Stars
1 Quentin Laulu-Togagae (Sheffield Eagles)
2 Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs)
3 Stuart Littler (Leigh Centurions)
4 Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)
5 Will Sharp (Featherstone Rovers)
6 Paul Cooke (Doncaster)
7 Liam Finn (Featherstone Rovers)
8 Mitch Stringer (Sheffield Eagles)
9 Bob Beswick (Leigh Centurions)
10 Steve Crossley (Featherstone Rovers)
11 Liam Harrison (Barrow Raiders)
12 James Lockwood (Featherstone Rovers)
13 Karl Olstrum (Workington Town)

Kingstone Press Championship One All Stars
1 Richard Lepori (Oldham)
2 Dalton Grant (South Wales Scorpions)
3 Jon Ford (Oldham)
4 Mason Caton-Brown (Hemel Stags)
5 Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders)
6 Andy Moulsdale (North Wales Crusaders)
7 Dylan Skee (London Skolars)
8 Rob Thomas (London Skolars)
9 Dave McConnell (North Wales Crusaders)
10 Warren Thompson (Rochdale Hornets)
11 Tyla Hepi (Gloucestershire All Golds)
12 Gary Middlehurst (North Wales Crusaders)
13 Jono Smith (North Wales Crusaders)
The Kingstone Press Championships All Star teams are selected by League Weekly.

Skolars travel to play Oldham on Sunday in the Kingstone Press Championship 1 play-offs knowing they are just 80 minutes away from a place in the Grand Final at Leigh on the 29th October, where Rochdale would be their opponents.

Skolars coach Joe Mbu faces a major reshuffle of his side’s attacking options after Dylan Skee, a nominee for the Kingstone Press Championship One Player of the Year award, broke his ankle late in the game against Hemel Stags last week. Mbu said: “Dylan will definitely be missed, but he’ll be with us at the weekend and that’s the type of guy he is. The players want to do it for him.”

On Oldham, Mbu added: “They’re a good side but we’re a lot stronger team now than in our two previous meetings this year, and that puts me in a positive spirit.”

Oldham full-back Richard Lepori returns after missing last week’s narrow defeat by Rochdale Hornets. Lepori was on international duty with Italy, producing a man of the match display in their 32-20 win over Serbia. He now looks set to replace Tom Whitehead, who broke his hand against Rochdale, as Oldham battle for the win that will take them to the Kingstone Press Championship One Play-off Final.

Oldham have won seven of their last eight meetings with London Skolars, with their last defeat coming in July 2011.
Oldham coach Scott Naylor said: “I can never knock this fine young squad for effort and desire. They are a great bunch; gutsy, hard working and exceptionally fit.”

Oldham Roughyeds v London Skolars kicks off at 3pm on Sunday 22nd September at Oldham’s Whitebank Stadium. Tickets are available to purchase on the gate priced at £11 and £9.

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