London Skolars 36 Oldham 34

9th July 2011

Skolars made it four home wins on the trot on Saturday, a club record since they joined the professional ranks 9 years ago. Home was The Twickenham Stoop, with the game being played after Harlequins RL’s Super League game against Wigan Warriors, the second consecutive year the Skolars have played a double header game at The Stoop.

The game also saw the return to the playing field of coach Joe Mbu after hanging up his boots almost two years ago and his influence on the side helped seal another dramatic late win against an Oldham side coached by former Skolar’s coach Tony Benson.

Skolars seem to making a habit of getting into an early lead only to let it slip. Dylan Skee opened the scoring, cutting across the posts to score after Skolars had forced a goal line drop out. Then Gareth Honor’s cross-field kick bounced perfectly for Ade Adebisi to gather and race 10 metres to the line for his 17th try of the season. Honor nearly set another try up, but the pass to Lamont Bryan bounced off the second rower’s chest.

Oldham had little possession in Skolars’ half in the opening twenty minutes, but a 40-20 kick by John Clough gave them the perfect launch pad for a comeback. Clough was then held-up over the line, but the sustained pressure led to Luke Sutton finding a gap in the defence to touchdown. Four minutes later, Valu Bentley slipped through on the left and Carl Forber’s conversion levelled the scores.

Skolars’ response was almost immediate, the hard-working Austen Aggrey opening a gap for James Anthony to score. When Sam Gee forced his way over from dummy half just before the break, they had re-established their 12 point lead.

They extended that lead after the break when James Anthony came into the attacking line and helped create an overlap for Jaroslaw Obuchowski to score out wide on the right.

Oldham again launched a comeback. John Gillam returned a deep Skee kick 60 metres, but Adebisi managed to dislodge the ball in the tackle. Some good passing interplay between Ben Heaton and Forber saw the full-back stopped just short of the line. Forber’s kick to the corner found Gillam who managed to evade the defence to score in the corner.

Two further tries in the next 7 minutes saw the visitors level the scores. Mark Brocklehurst’s try had more than a hint of an obstruction about it, but there was no doubt about Sutton’s second try, a close range effort after Skolars had conceded two penalties in quick succession.

A Danny Bravo break saw Martin Roden held over the line, but it wasn’t long before Oldham took the lead for the first time in the game, Carl Forber weaving through the defence on the right. However, having kicked a couple of tougher conversion, he missed this one and that proved to be vital to the result.

Dave Arnot charged down a kick on the half way line and Oldham’s scrambling defence had to work had to force Adebisi into touch from the resulting break. When Mark McCully’s pass to Heaton was ruled forward, Skolars had a scrum in Oldham territory. With runs from Lamont Bryan and Aggrey, Skolars were close to the tryline and Shaun Robinson had little alternative but to go for a ball being passed to the right wing. The knock-down went to ground and Skolars had another six tackles to attack. In his 200th professional game (195 of them for Skolars), Honor pushed his way over the line from dummy half to level the scores. Skee coolly kicked the conversion and Skolars were able to hold onto the lead for the last seven minutes to keep their play-off hopes alive.

With both Mbu and assistant Jermaine Coleman on the field for much of the game, assistant Todd Egan and Director of Rugby Mark Croston took on responsibilities in the dug-out. After a couple of injuries in the second half, left Mbu having to play for longer than he had intended, and he later described himself as feeling like “death on legs”. “But that what you enjoy about rugby league, pulling off a tough win. We’re a young side and we’ve yet to build on the early leads that we have enjoyed in the last few games. We lost momentum, but persistence and a mentality of knowing it’s not finished until the final hooter got us through again today”.

For a performance that included the stand-out try of the game and a fine try saving tackle in the second half, the The Mall Wood Green Man-of-the-Match award went to Ade Adebisi.

LONDON SKOLARS

3 James Anthony

18 Aaron Small

35 Will Colleran

17 Dave Arnot

5 Ade Adebisi

30 Mourad Kriouache

7 Dylan Skee

15 Olly Purslow

9 Gareth Honor

13 Stephen Ball

37 Jaroslaw Obuchowski

31 Lamont Bryan

19 Jermaine Coleman

Subs (all used)

25 Austen Aggrey

32 Sam Gee

33 Joe Mbu

12 Oliver Bloom

Tries: Skee (4), Adebisi (16), Anthony (29), Gee (35), Obuchowski (44), Honor (73)

Goals: Skee 6/6

 

OLDHAM

1 Ben Heaton

5 John Gillam

21 Mark Brocklehurst

29 Mark McCully

27 Shaun Robinson

6 Neil Roden

7 Carl Forber

8 Jason Boults

25 Martin Roden

28 Luke Stenchion

30 Danny Bravo

24 Paul Noone

13 Valu Bentley

 

Subs (all used)

11 Andy Isherwood

15 Luke Hutton

17 John Clough

23 Callum Casey

Tries: Sutton (22,57), Bentley (26), Gillam (50, Brocklehurst (53), Forber (65)

Goals: Forber 5/6

Penalty count: 5-8

Half-time: 24-12

Referee: Warren Turley

Attendance: 1,105

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 12-6, 12-12, 18-12, 24-12, 30-12, 30-18, 30-24, 30-30, 30-34, 36-34

 

Skolars ‘A’ were also in West London, playing West London Sharks at Chiswick Rugby Club. The club’s reserves gained their first RLC Premier victory since gaining readmission to the Conference, winning 32-18.


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