London Skolars 32 Rochdale Hornets 16

23rd June 2013

Skolars made it three wins in a row and their commitment for the full 80 minutes saw them score a try on the hooter than deprived the visitors of a bonus point.

They scored two early tries, the first through James Anthony who came into the line to take the ball from Olly Purslow to score on the right, the second saw Dylan Skee taking a quick short pass from Jermaine Wray to split the defence, for his 500th career point, also passing 450 for Skolars.

However, Rochdale forced a goal line drop out from the restart. The following attack saw the strong running Mike Ratu held up over the line. A Jordan Case break was continued by Wayne English and it took a fine tackle by James Anthony to dislodge the ball out his fellow full-back’s hands.

Another goal line drop out followed soon afterwards and the pressure told with Case striding over the line down the right flank, scoring again four minutes later with Paul Crook’s conversion levelling the scores.

Skolars made a couple of strong runs from Martyn Smith and Mike Worrincy, but Hornets looked to have taken the lead until the referee ruled that Steven Roper’s pass to Danny Davies was forward. At the other end Dylan Skee managed to run onto his own kick and when a Rochdale hand went onto a pass, Skolars took advantage of the extra six tackles with Martyn Smith racing over the line.

Hornets countered again and Dave Hull went close, being bundled into touch in goal by three Skolars’ defenders.

Skolars took early advantage of the wind after the restart with a Skee penalty. He then aimed for a 40-20 kick and the despairing Rochdale defence couldn’t prevent conceding a scrum less than 20 metres from their line. Andy McLean had been creating problems for the defence throughout the game, but finally found a gap close to the line to score. They had a good chance for another try soon afterwards but Anthony’s inside pass to Price was forward.

Hornets nearly came back into the game, but with the line beckoning, Steven Roper’s pass went to ground. Skolars also missed scoring chances with Joe Price twice passing forward to Ade Adebisi and Worrincy being held over the line.

When Skolars lost the ball 30 metres for the line, they appeared to wait for the referee to call a scrum, Rochdale took full advantage as Martin Waring picked the ball up and slipped past the defence to race to the line, Crook’s conversion narrowing the margin to eight points. But that was to be the only lapse in defence from Skolars in the second half.

However, Skolars steadied the game when they elected to take a penalty just past the halfway line. Skee was successful again and that extended the lead back to eight points, with five minutes remaining. With the last play of the game, Skolars moved the ball to the left for Joe Price to score, thus denying Hornets the bonus point.

After recent try fests, Skolars’ Head Coach Joe Mbu was considerably happier with his side’s defence. “For the last month, it’s been iffy and we’ve worked a squad to put things right. A lot of defence is about effort and we really put that in today.”

James Anthony in his 50th appearance for the club won the Skolars’ man of match award sponsorsed by The Mall, Wood Green Shopping City.

1 James Anthony
2 Smokie Junor
4 John Paxton
3 Joe Price
5 Ade Adebisi
26 Andy McLean
7 Dylan Skee
13 Olly Purslow
34 Jermaine Wray
10 David Williams
15 Jaroslaw Obuchowski
27 Sam Wellings
12 Mike Worrincy

Subs (all used)
9 Martyn Smith
8 Rob Thomas
16 Louis Robinson
30 Michael Sykes

Tries: Anthony (4), Skee (9), Smith (39) McLean (50), Price (80)
Goals: Skee 6/7

1 Wayne English
2 Gareth Langley
23 Dave Hull
22 Mike Ratu
17 Martin Waring
6 Paul Crook
7 Steven Roper
12 Dane Donoghue
31 Chris Hough
10 Warren Thompson
28 Matty Crow
13 Jordan Case
29 Carl Forster

Subs (all used)
5 Dominic Speakman
11 Chris Baines
16 Danny Davies
8 John Cookson

Tries: Case (15,19), Waring (66)
Goals: Crook 2/3

Penalty count: 12-8

Half-time: 16-10
Referee: Tom Crashley
Attendance: 343

SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0, 10-0, 10-6, 10-10, 16-10, 18-10, 24-10, 24-16, 26-16, 32-16

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