London Skolars 16 Oldham Roughyeds 18

24th March 2014

A tense and physical game saw Skolars just fall short of a victory in their first home game of the season.

The visitors took an early lead when Michael Ward forced his way over after they had gained a scrum close to Skolars’ line after John Paxton failed to take a high bomb cleanly. They went close soon afterwards, but Josh Crowley was too quick to race to take Lewis Palfrey’s kick and was ruled offside.

Skolars started to exert some pressure and after forcing a goal line drop out. Courtney Davies chipped a kick to the left of the posts for Mike Worrincy to touchdown.

Sam Gee was held up over the line for Oldham, but when Skolars attacked from the next set a loose pass was intercepted by Edwin Okanga-Ajwang who raced 55 metres to the tryline. Both sides then gave away series of penalties, as both sides tried to dominate down the middle. Another Davies kick wasn’t as incisive as the one that created the first Skolars’ try, but Oldham could gather it and Mufaro Mvududu gratefully pounced on the ball to score. Matt Bradley’s conversion levelled the scores and the home side went in level at half-time.

Oldham again dominated the early proceedings with Ben Wood being held up. A Lewis Palfrey pass unleased Mo Agoro and it took a strong tackle by Mvududu to stop him. Bradley almost kicked a 40-20 in the strong wind, but Tom Whitehead just managed to avoid stepping into touch whilst stopping the ball and was able to start another attack for the Roughyeds. Brett Robinson found a gap and slipped across the tryline unopposed with Palfrey adding his third conversion.

They had another good chance soon afterwards when Mark Hobson broke free but his pass was intercepted by Ryan McDonald. Skolars then saw Mvududu held up over the line and Worrincy went over soon afterwards. Bradley’s kick was just wide of the posts.

Skolars now started to dominate, but Oldham’s defence was firm under pressire. Davies made a break down the wing, but was tackled by the collar and dragged into touch. Skolars elected to kick for goal when they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out It was on the left of the posts and with a swirling wind was an odd decision, given the yardage Skolars were gaining. The kick nearly succeeded through, hitting the posts and Oldham were quick to get to the ball. Akanga-Ajwang was then held up at the other end, but Skolars counterattacked with Lamont Bryan striding through the middle of the defence, he offloaded the ball to Davies who was stopped just short of the line by Agoro and the ball was lost as Davies tried to slip the ball out of the tackle. With just over a minute left, Oldham were able to advance downfield and although Skolars received a penalty as the hooter sounded, they were never going to score from deep with one tackle available.

Skolars fielded two debutants: Mufaro Mvududu (Skolars’ appearance number 295) and Courtney Davies (296)

1 John Paxton
5 Dennis Tuffour
4 Patelisio Pelo
3 Mufaro Mvududu
25 Judd Greenhalgh
6 Courtney Davies
7 Matt Bradley
10 David Williams
9 Martyn Smith
31 Ryan McDonald
12 Mike Worrincy
11 Lamont Bryan
13 Olly Purslow

Subs (all used)
20 Mike Bishay
8 Rob Thomas
30 Michael Sykes
15 Sam Wellings

Tries: Worrincy (11,65), Mvududu (37)
Goals: Bradley 2/4

1 Tom Whitehead
2 Mo Agoro
3 Ben Wood
24 Edwin Okanga-Ajwang
5 Dale Bloomfield
6 Lewis Palfrey
7 Brett Robinson
10 Jason Boults
17 Danny Whitmore
19 Michael Ward
11 Josh Crowley
14 Danny Langtree
9 Sam Gee

Subs (all used)
16 Kenny Hughes
13 Mark Hobson
15 Paddy Mooney
8 Phil Joy

Tries: Ward (2), Okanga-Ajwang (21), Robinson (51)
Goals: Palfrey 3/3

Penalty count: 10-11

Half-time: 12-12
Referee: Chris Kendall
Attendance: 479

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 6-6, 6-12, 12-12, 12-18, 16-18

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