London Skolars 26 Leigh Centurions 43

27th March 2012

Skolars went out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup, but certainly gave Championship side Leigh Centurions a strong test.

They had to defend early on with Joe Price deflecting a pass to prevent a try early on. However, when they gained possession, John Paxton raced from his own line to half way, before Skolars gained a penalty.

They decided to take a tap penalty 28 metres out, a choice vindicated when Neil Thorman’s pass opened up space out wide and Smokie Junor touched down in the corner.

Ricky Bibey and Rob Parker put in a lot of work throughout the game and that regularly put Leigh into good attacking positions. With an attempted intercept and then conceding a penalty, Skolars defended four sets of six on their own line, before John Pownall finished off a passing move across the field. Another penalty soon afterwards put Leigh in a good position again, with Stuart Littler brushing off the defence. When Skolars lost possession on the half way line, Steve Maden capitalised and Leigh had scored their third try in a six minute burst.

They extended their lead when Matt Gardner finished off a Tommy Gallagher break. John Duffy crossed the line, but was adjudged to have led with an elbow in the tackle. Skolars kicked deep from the penalty, before Martyn Smith’s break was completed by Brad Hopkins. Stuart Littler took advantage of another Skolars’ error late in the half, but there was still time for Skolars to pull another try back as the hard working Olly Purslow forced his way through the defence to score under the posts.

Skolars needed to score early to stand a chance of creating an upset. John Paxton created an overlap but the pass to Junor went to ground and when the Skolars defence couldn’t get to a bouncing ball from a Duffy kick, Mike Worrincy was able to get to the ball just avoiding putting a foot over the dead ball line. Three minutes later Craig Briscoe’s pass found Greg McNally coming into the attacking line to score the visitors’ seventh try

Previous visits to New River had seen Leigh cut loose in the later stages, but Skolars were not overwhelmed this time. Dylan Skee’s 40-20 kick gave opportunity for Ade Adebisi to race over from close range. Bibey was probably lucky not to be dismissed after a very high shot on Purslow, although the high penalty count was more related to offsides and interference from high kicks than any aggressive play.

Ridyard’s 40-20 gave Leigh another opportunity to score, Stuart Littler managed to keep hold of a ball that hit his chest to race over for his hat-trick. Bob Beswick kicked a drop goal with four minutes remaining, which baffled most spectators given the scoreline, but there was time for Dylan Skee to finish off with a flourish with a try on the last move of the game.

The Mall Wood Green Man of the Match award was won by Olly Purslow.

Skolars’ coach Joe Mbu was positive in defeat, “We showed a lot of determination and did well to stay in there against a strong Championship side.”

 

LONDON SKOLARS

1 John Paxton

2 Smokie Junor

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 Brad Hopkins

12 Alex Bate

13 Austen Aggrey

 

Subs (all used)

14 Olly Purslow

15 Louis Robinson

16 Martyn Smith

17 Dave Arnot

 

Tries: Junor (6), Hopkins (38), Purslow (40), Adebisi (54), Skee (80)

Goals: Skee 3/5

 

CENTURIONS

1 Greg McNally

2 Steve Maden

3 Stuart Littler

4 Matt Gardner

5 John Pownall

6 Martyn Ridyard

7 John Duffy

8 Ricky Bibey

9 Anthony Nicholson

10 Rob Parker

11 Craig Briscoe

12 Michael Worrincy

13 James Taylor

 

Subs (all used)

14 Bob Beswick

15 Sam Hopkins

16 Michael Ostick

17 Tommy Gallagher

 

Tries: Pownall (15), Littler (18, 40, 70), Maden (21), Gardner (30), Worrincy (44), McNally (47)

Goals: Ridyard 5/8

Drop Goal: Beswick (76)

 

Penalty count: 16-8

 

Half-time: 14-26

Referee: Matthew Kidd

Attendance: 376

 

SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0, 4-4, 4-10, 4-16, 4-22, 8-22, 8-26, 14-26, 14-32, 14-38, 20-38, 20-42, 20-43, 26-43


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