Captain’s Knock – Williams notches 100 for Skolars

Dave Williams

Dave Williams Celebrates 100 Games

 

Club Captain, Dave Williams, will play his 100th game for the London Skolars, when they take on Pilkington Recs in the Cup Tie game this Saturday.

Williams made his professional debut for Harlequins rugby league in 2008 and later debuted for the London Skolars at Dewsbury Rams in January 2010.

The tireless forward has made 18 Super League appearances over that time and is the pin up boy for rugby league in London, having been born and bred in London and progressing through the development pathway to Super League.

It was only by chance that Williams discovered rugby league but despite this it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the game.

“I got free tickets to a London Broncos game and went along with my dad and I fell in love with the game from there.  So much so that I signed up to my local junior club not long after,’’ says Williams.

Despite being new to the sport and not being gifted with as many natural talents as some of the other kids around him, Williams progressed through the junior elite rugby league academies in London before being contracted with the London Harlequins Rugby League Club.

Many who know him will tell you that this is typical of Dave.  An understated legionnaire, who grafts his way to success with a sheer willingness and discipline to do the hard yards, without a fuss.

His toughness and durability is highlighted by the fact that of his 100 games he will have played, he was selected and played 96 times on the starting side, with only 4 appearances from the bench.

Ever a man of honour and a leader of men, you won’t find him singing his own praises.

“I’m not the most vocal captain.  I’m not a big talker, I leave that for the halfbacks.  They always have lots to say.  I’m more about leading by my actions on and off the field and sharing my experience and things I’ve learned along the way with the younger players in the squad,” he says.

Discussing this milestone, Williams recounts back to his early playing days as a junior and is proud of the opportunities available today for kids to play rugby league in London.

“I remember when I first started playing there were only three or four rugby league clubs in London and now there’s a lot more.   I know at Skolars we’ve got a growing juniors and minis section as part of our award winning community department, so there’s definitely been a lot more activity and opportunity for kids to play rugby league, which I think is great,’’ he says.

This weekend brings up 100 games for Williams but it’s also a Cup-Tie and Williams has no doubts about what he expects from the opposition and his team.

“It’ll be a tough game.  They’ll be a good team but for us it’s more about worrying about how we prepare and what we’re doing.  We’re all really looking forward to a great game,’’ says Williams.

“It’s an honour to play 100 games for the London Skolars, it’s something I’m really proud of and pleased to have achieved with this great club,’’ he says.

No doubt it is such humility and determinedness that has helped him navigate his career and guide him towards achieving this special milestone.

 

Kick-off is at 2.30pm,Saturday 27th Feb at the Pilkington Rec ARLFC, Ruskin Drive St Helens, Merseyside WA10 6RP.

Tickets are £5 for adults and £2 for concession.

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Next Skolars Home Game:

Saturday 12th March

Skolars v Oxford RL

New River Sport & Fitness

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London Skolars will travel north this Saturday 27th February to take on Pilkington Recs Amateur Rugby League Football Club in the third round of the Challenge Cup.

In the club’s first away fixture for the year, Skolars coach Jermaine Coleman, will be looking for the team to build on their victory against South Wales from the weekend’s iPro Cup game.

“Whilst it was good to get the win against South Wales on the weekend, it’s important we look to continue that momentum against Pilkington Recs this weekend,’’ says Coleman.

“I was really pleased with our defensive effort against South Wales and how the team stuck with things throughout the game in attack.  We’ll need to do that again this week,’’ he says.

Skolars have named an 18 man squad with a few changes for the cup-tie match.

Joe Ridley returns from injury at right centre.  Club veteran John Paxton returns to the wing with prop Rob Thomas coming into the starting side and young forward Ben Gray to start on the bench.

Coleman said the team have full respect for their opposition despite being an amateur club.

“Pilkington are a great club and we expect them to be well structured and bring a lot of energy so we certainly won’t be underestimating them.  They’re a quality outfit and we have to make sure we turn up and be on from the first minute of the game.’’

Kick-off is 2.30pm Saturday 27th February at the Pilkington Rec ARLFC, Ruskin Drive St Helens, Merseyside WA10 6RP.

Tickets available on the gate – £5 for adults and £2 for concession.

IPro Sport Cup – Round 1

Final Score:     London Skolars 44     South Wales Scorpions 6

Skolars progressed to the quarter final stage with a dominant performance on a windy rainswept afternoon at New River. Despite the final scoreline they had to work hard against a Scorpions side who had won on their last two visits to the capital.

The visitors had to contend with two players being taken off injured in the first half, Chris Leyshon limped off after five minutes and Kyle Scrivens was also ruled out of further action late in the first half. However, that hadn’t stopped them taking an early lead when hooker Connor Farrar slipped through the defence from close range, Paul Emanuelli adding the conversion

That had come after Skolars had missed a good chance to score when a Dave Williams break saw Sam Nash’s pass inside go forward. Williams went close soon but the Scorpions defence managed to force an error as he went over the tryline.

Two tries in the last six minutes of the first half turned the game in Skolars’ favour. They chose to run a penalty ten metres from the tryline and that decision was justified when they swung the ball to the left for Charlie Lawrence to score. Four minutes later Erjon Dollapi was unstoppable from short range, Lawrence adding the conversion as Skolars went in 16-6 up at the break.

South Wales needed a good start to get back in the game, but they knocked out from the kick-off. Skolars came close to taking advantage straight away, but Welsh international Elliott Kear was forced into touch close to the tryline. However, it wasn’t long before Skolars did score, Alex Anthony running onto Lawrence’s angled grubber kick. Ben Pointer then made a break leading to a try for Eddie Mbaraga in his first game on his return to the club he played for as a junior.

Kear (on dual registration from Broncos) broke through the Scorpions’ defence to score in the left corner, but Skolars’ were strong on the right side as well, with Will Lovell often causing problems in attack leading to Aaron Small’s try.

Scorpions woes were compounded when they were offside at the restart. Lawrence was held up over the line from the next set, but Kear broke the defensive line from his own half before offloading to Ben Pointer. Sam Nash raced through a tiring defence on the right to touchdown for Skolars’ ninth try.

Scorpions only chance of the half came in the last few minutes, Scott Gregory finding a gap on the right, offloading to Dai Evans but the winger was bundled into touch and Skolars could start to celebrate their first win of the season.

Skolars

1 Alex Anthony

2 Sam Nash

3 Aaron Small

4 Joe Price

5 Elliott Kear

6 Jermaine Coleman

7 Charlie Lawrence

8 Michael Sykes

9 Mike Bishay

11 Toby Everett

10 Dave Williams

12 Will Lovell

13 Mike Worrincy

Subs

14 Ben Pointer

23 Erjon Dollapi

16 Jon Magrin

17 Eddie Mbaraga

Tries: Kear (17,52), Lawrence (34), Dollapi (38), Anthony (44), Mbaraga (50), Small (59), Pointer (63), Nash (71)

Goals: Lawrence 4/9

Scorpions

15 Jordan Sheridan

5 Dai Evans

3 Kyle Scrivens

4 Yannic Parker

1 Chris Leyshon

6 Kristian Hawkes

7 Paul Emanuelli

8 Chris Davies

9 Connor Farrer

10 Izaac Duffy

20 Anthony Symons

17 Michael Connor

13 Chris Vitalini

Subs (all used)

16 Daffyd Hellard

19 Kristian Baller

14 Osian Phillips

21 Scott Gregory

Tries: Farrer (12)

Goals: Emanuelli 1/1

Penalty count: 7-5

Half-time: 16-6

Referee: Jack Smith

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 4-6, 10-6, 16-6, 22-6, 26-6, 30-6, 34-6, 40-6, 44-6

London Skolars today produced a physical and convincing victory against the South Wales Scorpions down at the New River Stadium… A full match report to follow

 

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