London Skolars 20 Oldham 20

24th April 2012

A thoroughly entertaining game saw honours even and left both coaches feeling that their sides had dropped points rather than gained a couple. Both teams had periods of domination, but neither side found it easy to break down defences on a blustery day.

Skolars enjoyed extended possession in the early stages. Dylan Skee launched a high ball into the in-goal area, which Oldham allowed to bounce, thinking it would go dead. But James Anthony raced through and a rolling dive saw him ground the ball inches from the dead ball line. Skolars will rue the lack of points they might have scored, turning down two penalty kicks from close range with Oldham holding Dave Williams up over the line on two occasions. Both sides lost players through injuryearly on with Paul Smith an Andy McLean departing in the opening 10 minutes.

Skee took advantage of a third penalty to slot the ball over, but the visitors bounced straight back when the restart saw Skolars carrying the ball over the touchline. The next set led to a goal line drop out and, although they didn’t score from the next set, Oldham started to exert pressure with Jamie Dallimore kicking crossfield for Miles Greenwood to score. A Jason Boults run saw them attack again, but a ball steal from James Anthony  relieved the pressure for a while.

The introduction of Alex Thompson on the half hour had an immediate effect. He made a strong run on his first touch and finished the move off two tackles later. The wind was gathering pace at that point with Dallimore’s conversion from 30 metres ending up on the 20 metre line. It takes an experience player to deal effectively with those conditions and Oldham had that man in the shape of Graeme Holroyd. He might not have played for two years, but it did not look like that as his short chip kick was inch perfect for Thompson to cross for his second try. The wind was such that Skee attempted a penalty 5 metres inside his own half as the hooter sounded. It didn’t miss by much either.

The wind was in Oldham’s favour in the second half, but was not as wild as before the break. Skolars spent large parts of the half coming away from their own line, but Anthony’s anticipation of kicks meant that Oldham did not kick a 40-20, despite a number of attempts. Skolars narrowed the gap when Martyn Smith scooted over from short range, although the visitors felt he had grounded short.

Dave Ellison was held up over the line, but Oldham couldn’t unpick the defence. They forced a goal line drop out but Skee kicked short and low to the 20 metre line forcing an error to regain possession. With five minutes remaining Skee found a chink in the defence, going over from dummy half, adding the conversion to put Skolars ahead by four points. That lead was shortlived as the Roughyeds moved the ball our wide to the left for Greenwood to score his second try of the day. Dallimore missed a difficult kick from out wide, but there was just enough time for Oldham to advance again. Holroyd was perfectly placed for a drop goal, but the ball glanced the wrong side of the posts as the final hooter sounded.

The match was sponsored by Islington Chamber of Commerce.

The man of the match award is sponsored by The Mall, Wood Green Shopping City and was awarded to James Anthony for his assured performance at full-back.

 

LONDON SKOLARS

1 James Anthony

2 John Paxton

3 Joe Price

4 Joe Ridley

5 Ade Adebisi

6 Andy McLean

7 Dylan Skee

8 Rob Thomas

9 Neil Thorman

10 David Williams

11 Brad Hopkins

12 Mike Worrincy

13 Alex Bate

 

Subs (all used)

14 Austen Aggrey

15 Olly Purslow

16 Martyn Smith

17 James Roche

 

Tries: Anthony (4), Smith (47), Skee (75)

Goals: Skee 4/5

 

OLDHAM

1 Miles Greenwood

2 Lucas Onyango

3 Matthew Fogarty

4 Mark McCally

5 Shaun Robinson

6 Graeme Holroyd

7 Jamie Dallimore

8 Jason Boult

9 Martin Roden

10 Chris Clarke

11 Paul Noone

12 Paul Smith

13 Valu Bentley

 

Subs (all used)

14 Matty Syton

15 Alex Thompson

16 Dave Ellison

17 Micheal Ward

 

Tries:  Greenwood (23,77), Thompson (30,37)

Goals: Dallimore 2/4

 

Penalty count: 10-4

 

Half-time: 8-16

Referee: John Cobb

Attendance: 492

 

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 8-0, 8-6, 8-10, 8-16, 14-16, 20-16, 20-20


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