Rochdale Hornets 26 London Skolars 24

9th September 2013

It took a Hornets try two minutes from time to stop Skolars from pulling off a win at Spotland in their first play-off game. They now have a second chance to progress, starting with a home game against Hemel Stags next Sunday, but each game is now sudden death.

Skolars did not get off to a good start. Mike Worrincy limped off after five minutes with a recurrence of the injury sustained last week. The first came for Jordan Case. Hornets then forced a goal line drop out after after Skolars lost possession in their own half after conceding a penalty for dissent, Rochdale moved the ball wide for Dave Sutton to score, with Paul Crook kicking his second conversion.

Dylan Skee forced a goal line drop out from the kick-off. That gave Skolars a good position from which to attack and Oscar Thomas showed his pace to cross the line, Skee converting. They scored a second six minutes later when Joe Price twice combined with Gareth Raynor as they through the defence for Raynor to score. Skee missed the conversion and Skolars went in 12-10 behind at half-time.

They started strongly in the second half. John Paxton was held up over the line, before Raynor scored in the corner for his second try. Rochdale charged down a Skee kick on the sixth tackle to mount an attack starting on half-way and they regained the lead when Chris Baines scored.

Three minutes later the scores were levelled when James Anthony joined the line on the left flank to score his 18th try of the season. Skee, normally so accurate with the boot missed another conversion and Hornets took the lead again soon after with Crook kicking a penalty from two metres inside his own half.

However, there were still more twists and turns as both sides started to show some nerves. Anthony slipped an inside pass for Skee to touchdown for the fifth consecutive game. He picked up a knock after scoring, so Andy McLean stepped up to convert the goal putting Skolars 20-24 up with 10 minutes remaining.

Skolars had to defend their line and when John Cookson threw the ball down after disagreeing with the referee as to whether he’d crossed the tryline. That gave Skolars a scrum close to their line, but they lost the ball in a tackle and Dave Llewellyn scored to level the scores.

Paul Crook kicked his sixth goal of the afternoon to the relief of the home support and Skolars were left knowing that they now face the harder route to the play-off final.

2 Gareth Langley
5 Dave Sutton
20 Danny Davies
26 Dave Llewellyn
17 Martin Waring
6 Paul Crook
7 Steven Roper
29 Carl Forster
31 Chris Hough
10 Warren Thompson
13 Jordan Case
14 Alex Trumper
18 Joe Greenwood

Subs (all used)
8 John Cookson
19 Andy Ainscough
9 Alex McClurg
11 Chris Baines

Tries: Case (13), Sutton (19), Baines (53), Llewellyn (78)
Goals: Crook 5/5

London Skolars
1 James Anthony
4 John Paxton
32 Oscar Thomas
3 Joe Price
37 Gareth Raynor
26 Andy McLean
7 Dylan Skee
30 Michael Sykes
36 Jermaine Wray
10 David Williams
12 Mike Worrincy
27 Sam Wellings
19 James Roche

Subs (all used)
9 Martyn Smith
19 Jaroslaw Obuchowski
8 Rob Thomas
13 Olly Purslow

Tries: O Thomas (22), Raynor (29,53), Anthony (56), Skee (70)
Goals: Skee 1/4, McLean 1/1

Penalty count: 8-2

Half-time: 12-10
Referee: Gareth Hewer

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 12-6, 12-10, 12-14, 18-14, 20-18, 20-24, 26-24

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