Last Minute Heartbreak in South Wales

Kingstone Press Championship 1
South Wales Scorpions 19
London Skolars 18

A drop goal with four minutes remaining meant that Skolars fell to the narrowest defeat in Cardiff.

South Wales moved the game from their Maesteg home for what was a triple bill of matches at the historic Cardiff Arms Park. They didn’t get off to the best of starts with Ashley Bateman being sin-binned for dissent after 10 minutes. Skolars missed a couple of good chances, Martyn Smith losing the ball as he was tackled on the tryline and then Mufaro Mvududu’s pass to John Paxton was forward.

The Scorpions took advantage of that mistake with Phil Carleton opening the scoring. Skolars went into the lead when Courtney Davies sliced through the defence to score against his former side before adding a conversion.

Despite Skolars enjoying possession thanks in part to the home side conceding eight penalties in the first half, Scorpions regained the lead when Jordan Sheridan came into the attacking line from full-back to ease through the defence on the right. Skolars then found themselves down to 12 men temporarily when debutant Josh Sunley was sin-binned for an illegal tackle. Paul Emanuelli kicked a penalty at the end of the half to put Scorpions 12-6 up at half-time.

With New River currently being developed the pitch at the Arms Park gave Skolars an early chance to play on an artificial pitch. They came back strongly in the second half. After Skolars forced a goal-line drop out Ryan Mcdonald banged his way over the line, Davies’ conversion levelling the scores. Seven minutes later David Williams crashed through to the line after a kick and regather by Mike Bishay had given Skolars a chance to attack close to the line.

Skolars then had to withstand several determined attacks, Daniel Parry was held up over the line, but when Jack Pring cut inside to score on the left, Emanuelli’s conversion levelled the scores again. Dave Williams was held up over the line at the other end, but with neither side controlling possession, it was Scorpions who took an opportunity for a drop-goal. When Paul Emanuelli slotted the ball between the sticks, there was still time for a Skolars’ attack, but a poor kick off safely found Welsh hands and the home side held out for just their second win of the season, both coming against Skolars, and their first in Wales for over a year.

Earlier the Under 19s lost 54-10 to their Welsh counterparts. Luke Stack and Rhys Whitby scored tries with Scott Whitby converting one, but there was no disgrace in losing to what was almost the Welsh national under 19 side, with 14 of the Scorpions having represented their country in the Commonwealth Games Rugby League 9s, which took place as a exhibition event at the start of the month.

Scorpions
1 Jordan Sheridan
2 Ian Newbury
3 Jack Pring
12 Phil Carleton
5 Chris Leyshon
6 Paul Emanuelli
7 Shaun Owens
25 Neil Dallimore
13 Ashley Bateman
18 Harrison Elliott
11 Barrie Phillipa
14 Mike Connor
10 Chris Vitalini

Subs (all used)
21 Daniel Parry
23 Richard East
16 Osian Philips
22 Morgan Evans

Tries: Carleton (15), Sheridan (28), Pring (62)
Goals: Emanuelli 3/4
Drop-goal: Emanuelli
Sin-bin: Bateman (10) – dissent

Skolars
1 Josh Sunley
14 James Duckworth
3 John Paxton
4 Mufaro Mvududu
5 Iliess Macani
6 Courtney Davies
7 Danny Yates
22 Erjon Dollapi
9 Martyn Smith
21 Michael Sykes
11 Anthony Cox
31 Lamont Bryan
10 Dave Williams

Subs (all used)
13 Louis Robinson
8 Ryan McDonald
16 Mike Bishay
20 Tely Pelo

Tries: Davies (21), McDonald (51), Williams (58)
Goals: Davies 3/3
Sin-bin: Sunley (36) – punching

Penalty count: 7-11
Half-time: 12-6
Referee: Adam Gill

Attendance: 486

SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0, 4-6, 10-6, 12-6, 12-12, 12-18, 18-18, 19-18

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