London Skolars 26 Hemel Stags 4

11th March 2013

Skolars maintained their place at the top of their Northern Rail Cup group against local rivals and newcomers into the league Hemel Stags. A win next week against University of Gloucestershire All-Golds would put them in strong contention to progress to both the knock-out stages of the competition and the Northern Rail Bowl final between the two group winners.

Thankfully the light snow before the game melted quickly, but it was a cold day for Skolars’ first game at New River for over 6 months. Muddy conditions ensured that there was little opportunity for either side to playing flowing rugby.

Skolars almost scored in the first two minutes, Smokie Junor couldn’t ground the ball over the line after following up a Dylan Skee bomb. Alex Ingerfield then went close at the other end, but it wasn’t long before Skolars got onto the scoreboard with Junor diving in at the corner. The Stags made some good plays and enjoyed a period of possession in Skolars’ half. Former Skolar Aaron Small almost got to a Chad Sharp grubber and went close with ball in hand soon after.

Using the wind to their advantage, Hemel kept Skolars pinned down for a large part of the first half, with both sides struggling to maintain possession. Danny Burke put the home side further ahead soon after coming on as substitute hooker. Skee’s second conversion of the afternoon saw him pass 400 career points, his first having seen him pass 350 for Skolars.

The Stags conceded a drop out from the kick-off at the start of the second half, but defended well to keep Skolars out. However, long passes from Skee and Oscar Thomas saw a gap open on the right for John Paxton to touch down.

The highlight of the game was undoubtedly Skolars’ fourth try, when James Anthony picked up the ball deep in his own half before breaking the defensive line and racing 80 metres to score. Skolars scored again three minutes later with Jack Dillon breaking through on the left. Dylan Skee kicked his third conversion of the afternoon, his first saw him pass 350 points for the club since he joined in 2011.

Hemel’s determination was rewarded with a try late on in the game when Shane Grady scored out wide.

The Man-of-the-Match sponsored by The Mall, Wood Green was won by James Anthony.  His four tries in the first two games has seen him move above Mark Cantoni and Chris Shears into eighth place in the all-time (professional era) Skolars’ try scoring list,

The same saw a first in the dual registration era, with both sides having a relationship with London Broncos, who provided 9 players out of the 34: Alex Hurst, Oscar Thomas, Erjon Dollapi and Olsi Krasniqi for Skolars and Mason Caton-Brown, Shane Grady, Chris Melling, Jack Molloy and Mike Bishay for the Stags. Dollapi and Krasniqi’s selection in the Skolars’ line-up was also thought to be the first time that two Albanian born players have appeared in the same side at professional level.



1 James Anthony

4 John Paxton

27 Alex Hurst

3 Joe Price

2 Smokie Junor

26 Oscar Thomas

7 Dylan Skee

30 Erjon Dollapi

9 Martyn Smith

8 Rob Thomas

11 David Stephenson

12 Mike Worrincy

29 Olsi Krasniqi


Subs (all used)

19 James Roche

16 Louis Robinson

17 Danny Burke

23 Jack Dillon


Tries: Junor (7), Burke (29), Paxton (490, Anthony (55), Dillon (58)

Goals: Skee 3/5



1 Mike Forgham

2 Ash Johnson

3 Aaron Small

4 BJ Swindells

33 Mason Caton-Brown

20 Ben Kavanagh

36 Chad Sharp

34 Shane Grady

9 Joel Miranda

12 Aiden Pritchard

29 Alex Ingerfield

30 Chris Melling

13 Jack Molloy


Subs (all used)

14 Ian Keevil

15 Guy Aldam

16 Mike Bishay

17 Wayne Kelly


Tries: Grady (73)


Penalty count: 5-6


Half-time: 12-0

Referee: Jamie Bloem

Attendance: 521


SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 16-0, 20-0, 26-0, 26-4


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