Rochdale Hornets 36 London Skolars 4

12th March 2012

After last week’s heroics, there was a disappointing defeat for Skolars in the first league game of the season, with the side playing with 12 men for the last 20 minutes following James Anthony’s sending off for an illegal tackle.

Joe Mbu made just one change to the 17 that had faced Halifax, with Martyn Smith returning in place of Danny Burke.

They had started the game well with two early chances. But Joe Price’s pass went to Ade Adebisi’s ankles and Neil Thorman was held up just short of the line. Hornets countertattacked and Steve Crook’s kick left Andy McLean no alternative but to concede a goal line drop out. Hornets moved the ball to the left for Gary Middlehurst to open the scoring.

Hornets’ half-backs combined for the next try, Steven Roper taking the pass from Paul Crook and flipping the ball from behind his back to release Wayne English to cross the tryline on the corner.

Skolars’ one try came from quick hands passing the ball to the left with Joe Price finding a gap in the defence to touchdown on the left hand side.

Rochdales’ third try saw some more inventive handling, Stephen Bannister’s pass being taken by Paul O’Connor behind his back, but he managed to keep hold of the ball and race to the line. That left the scoreline 14-4 to the home side at the break

Skolars had a couple of chances to narrow the gap. Matt Thomas crossed the tryline, but the try was notched off for crossing, an error that the visitors repeated later on in the game.

Good runs from Bannister and Roper put Hornets in a good position, before a Paul Wood break. He offloaded inside to Middlehurst for his second try, but was caught by James Anthony’s elbow and was out on the ground for a few minutes, though he was able to leave the field unassisted. Anthony also left the field as Clint Sharrad showed him the red card.

Both the try and the sending off ensured that Rochdale would take three points from the game, but they were continued to play some flair rugby. A break started by Roper saw Ade Adebisi have to pull out a big tackle to stop Dale Bloomfield on the wing. A Bannister run produced Steve McDermott’s try.

Skolars might still have held out a hope of a bonus point, but after the final pass of a move down the right flank went forward to Chris Mcnamara, Rochdale added two late tries to give a comfortable winning margin. Roper’s break was continued by Mark Hobson and the prop slipped the ball to Bannister to score. Roper broke through again for Middlehurst to record a hat-trick.



1 Paul O’Connor

2 Dale Bloomfield

3 Daniel Davies

4 Stephen Bannister

5 Wayne English

6 Paul Crook

7 Steven Roper

8 Mark Hobson

9 Steve McDermott

10 John Cookson

11 Gary Middlehurst

12 Chris Baines

13 Dayne Donoghue


Subs (all used)

14 Phil Wood

15 Chris Hough

16 Adam Bowman

17 Stephen Lucas


Tries: Middlehurst (12,59,79), English (16), O’Connor (25), McDermott (69)

Goals: Crook (4/7)



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 Martyn Smith

17 Joe Ridley


Tries: Price (21)

Goals: Skee 0/1

Sending off: Anthony (59) – use of elbow


Penalty count: 7-5


Half-time: 14-4

Referee: Clint Sharrad

Attendance: 359


SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 10-0, 10-4, 14-4, 20-4, 26-4, 30-4, 36-4

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