London Skolars 12 Halifax 16

4th March 2012

Skolars came close to what would have been the upset of the season, with Halifax taking the lead for first time in the game with 29 seconds remaining. Their coach Karl Harrison praised Skolars’ efforts after the game, but as he reflected  “It’s a 80 minute game as we found out last week against Featherstone”.

With Martyn Smith unavailable, Danny Burke got his first opportunity in the Northern Rail Cup. John Paxton replaced Lameck Juma on the wing and Joe Ridley (dual registered with Broncos) made his debut in place of Louis Robinson.

When Skolars chose to run a penalty early on, it seemed a brave decision considering they hadn’t scored a point in their two previous home games against Halifax. But the class of 2012 looked confident and although they didn’t score from that sent they enjoyed most of the possession in the first quarter. Wayne Reittee did well to keep an attempted 40-20 kick from Dylan Skee in play, but Fax were forced into a goal-line drop out soon afterwards, from which James Anthony was held up over the line.

Halifax had a couple of meaningful attack in the early stages. A break by Paul Handforth and a good pass out to Adam Robinson opened up the defence, but the pass to Wayne Reittee was wayward. Sean Penkywicz broke through the line soon afterwards, but another poor pass saw the move falter.

Skolars were finally rewarded for their work on the half hour when Austen Aggrey forced his way over the line, with Skee converting. That spurred the visitors on: Luke Ambler was held up and they forced two goal line drop outs, but the Skolars defence remaining tight and the home side went in at the break having kept Halifax scoreless for the half. That was the first time Skolars had kept a side in a higher division pointless in a half.

Halifax levelled soon after the restart with Ryan Fieldhouse coming into the attacking line to score in the left hand corner with Steve Tyrer converting the goal. A late hit on Skee by Ben Heaton saw him sin-binned and Skolars weren’t going to spurn the two points at this stage, Skee slotting the kick over to put them in the lead again.

Whilst heavy rain and a cold wind made handling difficult, some mistakes couldn’t be put down to the weather. Halifax looked flustered in the face of Skolars’ superiority. Their restart kick-off went straight into touch. Skolars attack looked to have broken down close to the line, but Andy McLean just managed to get the ball to Ade Adebisi, who squeezed in at the corner. Skee missed the difficult kick, but Skolars were 6 points ahead.

The last 20 minutes saw Skolars facing a barrage of attacking moves from Halifax. Fieldhouse might have got a second try, but was adjudged to have made a double movement as he attempted a ground the ball under the posts. Sean Hesketh was held up soon afterwards, and referee John Cobb had to make a number of key calls as the attacks continued. Ade Adebisi committed himself to a tackle when Halifax ran the ball on the sixth tackle, but he stopped Ben Heaton in his tracks, a tackle that personified the effort of all 17 Skolars.

Skolars moved forward, with Rob Thomas and Dave Williams both working hard. Skee’s drop goal attempt was rushed and with the home side starting to tire, Halifax passed the ball around to find a gap. The gap finally came from a chip kick from Anthony Bowman finding Steve Tyrer on the left to score. Tyrer missed the conversion and Skolars were still two points ahead with nine minutes remaining.

Halifax might have scored several times, but Skolars defence was still solid, Lee Paterson and Tyrer was both held up over the line. Handforth’s cross field kick to Rob Worrincy was perfect, but the try was ruled out for obstruction as the defenders tried to get to the winger.

A couple of fumbles saw Skolars twice lose possession and the continued exertions finally took their toll as the ball was moved out the left for Reittee to dash Skolars’ hopes of a major upset and to leave the Halifax fans with a sense of relief.

The Wood Green Mall Man of the Match award went to Austen Aggrey for a fine try and some strong work, especially in the second half.

Ade Adebisi’s try was his third in three games this season and took his career tally at Skolars to 33, putting second in Skolars all-time (pro era) try scorers list and third in the points scorers chart, edging ahead of Gareth Honor on both lists.

Dylan Skee moved to third place in Skolars’ record goal kicking list, his first goal putting him ahead of Jake Johnstone. He has 49 goals, just one behind Tim Gee. He moved ahead of Gee in the points scoring records.

 

LONDON SKOLARS

1 James Anthony

2 John Paxton

3 Joe Price

4 Chris McNamara

5 Ade Adebisi

6 Andy McLean

7 Dylan Skee

8 Rob Thomas

9 Neil Thorman

10 David Williams

11 Alex Bate

12 Matt Thomas

13 Lamont Bryan

 

Subs (all used)

14 Olly Purslow

15 Austen Aggrey

16 Danny Burke

17 Joe Ridley

 

Tries: Aggrey (30), Adebisi (55)

Goals: Skee 2/3

 

HALIFAX

1 Ryan Fieldhouse

2 Wayne Reittee

3 Steve Tyrer

4 Ben Heaton

5 Rob Worrincy

6 Paul Handforth

7 Anthony Thackeray

8 Jim Gannon

9 Sean Penkwicz

10 Sean Hesketh

11 Dane Manning

12 Adam Robinson

13 Craig Ashall

 

Subs (all used)

14 Anthony Bowman

15 Callum Casey

16 Luke Ambler

17 Lee Paterson

 

Tries: Fieldhouse (48), Tyrer (71), Reittee (80)

Goals: Tyrer 2/3

Sin-bin: Heaton (51) – late tackle

 

Penalty count: 10-9

 

Half-time: 6-0

Referee: John Cobb

Attendance: 613

 

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 6-6,8-6,12-6, 12-10, 12-16


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