Skolars 19’s Win London Youth League Grand Final

29th July 2013

London Skolars U19’s age group finished off an outstanding season as they emerged victorious from the London Youth League Grand Final last Saturday.

On a hot day at Pennine way, the home of Skolars Championship One rivals Hemel Stags. The Skolars again made a dominant start to the game, with their impressive forward pack finding huge holes in the Eastern Rhinos defence, as was the game plan – the powerful bursts by props Franklin Bruno and David Ogufere were ably followed up with good support by lighting quick wingers Sayed Kapaka and Donovan Noble, enabling Skolars to cross for 4 quick fire opening tries, all converted by scrum half Jack Avery.
With the way the Skolars were defending both in the middle and out wide, and the assurance with which fullback Aston Stephenson was returning Eastern Rhinos kicks, there was a danger that the final was going to be all one way traffic. However credit to the Rhinos and their coach Pete Le Marquand, they rallied and dragged themselves back into contention. With the momentum now with the boys from Colchester the Skolars felt themselves under pressure for the first time in the match, facing two repeat sets on their own goal-line, it took a huge defensive effort to keep the Rhinos out, the Skolars finally got the break they needed when the left side of Seb Kolasa, Micheal Greenhalgh and Donovan Noble managed to make a great hit and force the Eastern Rhinos winger into touch.
This allowed the Skolars to regroup and they began to force themselves back upfield. With Eastern now chasing the game their plays became riskier and their error count increased. The Skolars, with first team coach Joe Mbu watching on from the sideline, were clinical in capitalizing on these errors and ran in 20 unanswered points to put the game beyond the Eastern Rhinos. The final whistle sparked jubilant scenes from the Skolars bench as they celebrated Grand Final success for the second year in a row.
This result meant the U19’s secured a London RL ‘treble’ with the 9’s, Junior Challenge Cup and now Grand Final trophy all now in the Skolars cabinet. Commenting on the victory, coach Matt Cuss and assistant coach Dion Chapman praised the way the boys had applied themselves throughout the season ‘given that the U19’s were coming into the season as Champions, there was pressure on us from the start, but every time we have been tested the lads have stuck their hands up and come away with the right result. It’s been a whole squad effort throughout the year with every one of the lads playing their part in some way, and a huge thank you must go to everyone who has enabled this season to be such a successful one, all the supporters who have turned out, everyone at the club for making everything so accessible, and Bobby Brown for driving us all over London. It’s been an absolute privilege to work with such a talented bunch of players in my first season with Skolars and I’m sure that we will see a number of this squad make the step up to first team level in the near future.”
1. Aston Stephenson
2. Donovan Noble
3. Max Catmur Hill
4. Seb Kolasa
5. Sayed Kapaka
6. Jack Avery
7. Jack Clover
8. Franklin Bruno
9. Ben Cary ©
10. David Ogufere
11. Mike Greenhalgh
12. Judd Greenhalgh
13. Scott Whitby

14. Aita Kyunoshi
15. Robbie Jarvis
16. Sean Palmer
17. Conrad Edgar
18. Anthony Kaana
19. Rhys Whitby
20. Ben Smith


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