London Skolars 41 Whitehaven 26

25th August 2012

Skolars pulled off an impressive win against promoted Whitehaven and moved back into the play-off spots with one game remaining. However, they will need to beat Doncaster next weekend if they are to stay ahead of Oldham and North Wales. A win would also deny Doncaster the Championship 1 title.

Two early penalties saw Skolars gain ground and Neil Thorman slipped over from dummy half to open the scoring. Whitehaven came straight back, forcing a goal line drop out after which Jamie Rooney went over from dummy half. They gained a second drop out when John Paxton caught the ball as it was going into touch, the third time this season Skolars have fallen foul of the new rule.

It didn’t prove costly as a Rooney pass was intercepted by Dylan Skee. He didn’t have the pace to make a break, but Smokie Junor had lots of it a few minutes later and it took a superb cover tackle from Lewis Palfrey to stop the youngster, dislodging the ball as well.

Whitehaven nearly had the chance to take the lead when Rooney kicked deep on the first tackle. Craig Calvert led the chase but the video referee adjudged that he’d just gone into touch a foot from the tryline. Skolars then took the initiative with two tries. Lamont Bryan forced his way through the defence five metres from the line to score, then Skee scored with a diagonal run to the line. That came just after Matthew Haggerty had one of the shortest ever spells on the field, a clash of heads in his first tackle saw him and Michael Sykes go off for repairs.

Rooney’s kick-off found touch 10 metres from the try-line, but an obstruction put paid to the attack. But when a Skee cross-field kick was taken by Craig Calvert there was no stopping him running the length of the field to narrow the margin to six points just before the break.

Haven were held up over the line twice in one set of six with Paul Cullnean and Lee Doran both being denied by a determined Skolars’ defence. The home side was lifted when Brad Hopkins took a Skee pass at speed to score down the left in the quiet but effective way that the young Australian has established himself as Skolar’s leading try scorer this season.

In the next set Skee launched a 40-20 and from the resultant possession Rob Thomas crashed through the defence to the delight of the home support. He made another soon afterwards, but chose not to pass to Austen Aggrey and got caught by Palfrey. Two Skee penalties and a Thorman drop goal put Skolars 23 points ahead, but they had to withstand a late burst from the visitors.

A Rooney crossfield kick found Loz Hamzat unopposed to touchdown in the corner. Two minutes later the otherwise anonymous Jessie Joe Parker drew the defence in before offloading to Calvert to score on the left wing. Rudd appeared to rush his conversion and did so again after Rooney finished off a Palfrey break. But that still left the margin at just nine points and the sizeable travelling contingent really got behind their side,

However, when Dave Williams intercepted a Haven pass and then Rob Thomas made another good run, Skolars were where they wanted to be. Dave Arnot and Thorman combined for McLean to score on the right earning the biggest cheer of the night from Skolars’ largest crowd of the season. Skee kicked his eighth goal of the night. Two years ago a 20 point haul in a game would have equalled the club record, but it’s the fourth time he’s scored that or more in the last five games. He won the Players’ Player award sponsored by Laurent Perrier. Lamont Bryan won Skolars’ Man of The Match award sponsored by The Mall, Wood Green Shopping City and was also the Premier TV Man of the Match.



1 James Anthony

2 John Paxton

3 Joe Price

4 Dave Arnot

5 Smokie Junor

6 Andy McLean

7 Dylan Skee

8 Olly Purslow

9 Neil Thorman

10 David Williams

11 Brad Hopkins

12 Matt Thomas

13 James Roche


Subs (all used)

14 Ron Thomas

15 Michael Sykes

16 Martyn Smith

17 Austen Aggrey


Tries: Thorman (2), Bryan (29), Skee (32), Hopkins (49), R Thomas (51), McLean (78)

Goals: Skee 8/8

Drop-goal: Thorman



1 Lewis Palfrey

2 Craig Calvert

3 Max Wiper

4 Jessie Joe Parker

5 Loz Hamzat

6 Jamie Rooney

7 Carl Rudd

8 Dave Houghton

9 Tom Hemmingway

10 Paul Cullnean

11 Richard Varkulis

12 Martyn Wilson

13 Lee Doran


Subs (all used)

14 Andreas Bauer

15 Luke Isakka

16 Andrew Beattie

17 Matthew Haggarty


Tries: Rooney (7,73), Calvert (36,71), Hamzat (69)

Goals: Rudd 2/4, Rooney 1/1


Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match

Skolars:  Dylan Skee

Haven: Craig Calvert


Penalty count: 9-8


Half-time: 18-12

Referee: Warren Turley

Attendance: 1,174


SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 12-12, 12-18, 12-24, 18-24, 24-24, 24-30, 28-30, 34-30, 34-36, 40-36, 46-36, 48-36, 50-36, 56-36


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