London Skolars 40 Oxford 34

27th May 2013

A five try burst in the third quarter gave Skolars a win against second placed Oxford after trailing 6-18 at half-time.

Skolars dominated the early period of the game, but made unforced errors when in good positions, including Oxford’s opening try when Sean Morris intercepted Dylan Skee’s pass to race 65 metres to the tryline.

Skee made some amends when he bundled Lucas Onyango into touch close to the Skolars’ tryline, but Oxford attacks built up pressure and after forcing two goal line drop outs, they scored again with Brett Robinson slipping the ball out to Onyango to go over the line on the right.

Skolars woes were increased when they kicked out on the full from the restart, but after conceding a third goal line drop out, they counterattacked with Skee releasing Mike Worrincy to score. Shaun Robinson re-established the 12 point lead late in the first half and might have scored a further try had it not been for a fine tackle by Alex Hurst.

The game changed completely after the restart. Skolars almost scored in their first set, Mike Channing passing to Ade Adebisi, but the winger was bundled into touch. A minute later there was no mistake when the two players combined again, Adebisi scoring in the corner that time. With Martyn Smith making constant inroads from dummy half and regular trangressions by Oxford (an 8-1 penalty count against them in the second half), Skolars began to take control. It wasn’t long before Skolars had narrowed the gap to 2 points, a burst from Rob Thomas leading to a try for Joe Price.

A scuffle at a tackle between Onyango and Adebisi saw several other players plough in and whilst neither of those originally involved were spoken to, James Anthony and Brett Robinson received their marching orders. Skolars received the penalty and Thomas made another barnstorming run to score. Suddenly Skolars had taken the lead and the home crowd finally started to cheer.

Thomas added a second try before a comedy of errors saw a loose ball hacked 10 metres down the wing by Erjon Dollapi, with Alex Hurst following up to ground the ball, a decision that was not popular with the Oxford players or the fans, who were passionate throughout, impressive for such a new club.

Oxford raised their game again and their confidence was helped by a superb from Jonny Leather who picked up the ball behind his own line before running the length of the field to score. Two minutes later John Clough narrowed the gap to two points and almost scored again from the set of six from the restart, but was stopped 10 metres out on the last tackle.

Thomas then completed his hat-trick, just managing to ground the ball after driving over from five metres out. However, when Shaun Robinson scored his second try of the day three minutes later, Oxford were still in with a chance, helped further when Skee again kicked out on the full. Oxford couldn’t keep possession and then conceded a penalty. Skee kicked his sixth goal of the day, but with a six point margin there was still a chance for the visitors. However, an attempted short kick-off didn’t go 10 metres and Skolars were able to run down the clock for a hard-fought victory.

Joe Mbu felt that Skolars “still have a long way to go. We need the killer instinct when we have a team on the backfoot. We let our foot off the accelerator and almost let them back in.”

After scoring three tries and setting up a fourth, Rob Thomas won the Man of The Match Award, sponsored by The Mall, Wood Green.

1 James Anthony
4 John Paxton
29 Alex Hurst
3 Joe Price
5 Ade Adebisi
26 Andy McLean
7 Dylan Skee
13 Olly Purslow
21 Evan Simons
28 Erjon Dollapi
20 Cariern Clement-Pascall
12 Mike Worrincy
10 David Williams

Subs (all used)
9 Martyn Smith
8 Rob Thomas
16 Louis Robinson
27 Mike Channing

Tries: Worrincy (27), Adebisi (42), Price (45), Thomas (50,54,69), Hurst (59)
Goals: Skee 6/8
Sent-off: Anthony (49) – fighting

1 Johnny Leather
2 Lucas Onyango
4 Oli Johnson
32 Sean Morris
5 Shaun Robinson
6 Tommy Connick
7 Brett Robinson
16 Matty Hadden
9 John Clough
15 Glenn Osborn
12 John James Baird
23 Danny Halliwell
29 Martin Roden

Subs (all used)
17 Kenny Calladine
11 Alan Blewitt
21 Andrew Hoggins
19 Ian Burch

Tries: Morris (11), Onyango (21), S Robinson (35,72), Leather (63), Clough (65)
Goals: Leather (5/6)
Sent-off: B Robinson (49) – fighting

Penalty count: 10-4

Half-time: 6-18
Referee: Peter Brooke
Attendance: 409

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 6-18, 10-18, 16-18, 22-18, 28-18, 32-18, 32-24, 32-30, 38-30,38-34, 40-34

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