Hemel Stags 24 London Skolars 27

18th April 2014

Skolars won a tough local derby, despite being a man down for the last quarter of the game.

They had got off to a good start with Martyn Smith pushing through the defence from dummy half to score, Matt Bradley adding the conversion.

However they fell behind after the Stagas scored two tries. The first saw BJ Swindells pounce on a kick into the in-goal area that Skolars couldn’t defuse, followed soon afterwards by Dominic Maloney slipping the ball out to Mitch Barbera.

Skolars looked to have pulled a try back when Martyn Smith went over, but was adjudged not to have grounded the ball, and with Hemel’s positional kicking being considerably more incisive, Skolars struggled to mount any meaningful attacks.

But they took advantage of a Stags’ error early in the tackle count with Smith scoring a second try just before half-time to leave the score at 12 apiece.

After the restart, Skolars again scored early on. They looked to keep the ball alive on the sixth tackle with prop Louis Robinson ending up kicking the ball past the defence. Courtney Davies followed up with another short kick and Robinson followed up to put Skolars in the lead again.

Though the penalty count was low, there were a large number of dubious tackles from both sides that could have led to penalties and more as the level of tension and aggression rose. A late tackle by Sam Wellings saw him receive a red card, but that seemed to spur Skolars on and they quickly created an overlap on the left for Judd Greenhalgh to score. Bradley’s fourth conversion put Skolars 12-24 ahead, but again Hemel hit back with two tries in quick succession.

Firstly, Eddie M’Baraga forced his way though the Skolars defence after a Jy-Mel Coleman 40-20. After a lengthy stoppage for an injury to Barbera, Coleman kicked another 40-20 and another former Skolar touched down, this time it was Aaron Small on the left flank. Swindell’s fourth conversion levelled the scores.

Coleman missed a drop goal attempt on the next set of six, but Bradley was on target with the one-pointer when Skolars moved downfield. He then slotted over a penalty, but there was still time for Hemel to force an error at the kick-off and Skolars had to defend one last tackle before they could celebrate their second win in a week.

2 James Cameron
20 Eissad Al-Zubaidi
3 Aaron Small
4 Brown
5 James Hill
6 Jy-Mel Coleman
7 Mitch Barbera
8 Dominic Maloney
14 Evan Simons
25 James Howitt
11 BJ Swindells
13 Alex Ingerfield
10 Dan Ljazouli

Subs (all used)
18 Lee Hudson
16 Guy Aldam
15 Miles McLeod
23 Eddie Mbaraga

Tries: Swindell (11), Barbera (20), M’Barga (67), Small (75)
Goals: Swindells 4/4

1 Dennis Tuffour
5 John Paxton
19 Kazeem Fatouri
11 Anthony Cox
22 Judd Greenhalgh
6 Coutney Davies
7 Matt Bradley
34 Tely Pelo
9 Martyn Smith
30 Michael Sykes
13 Mike Worrincy
10 Dave Williams
21 Sam Wellings

Subs (all used)
29 Louis Robinson
8 Rob Thomas
28 Ryan MacDonald
18 Dion Chapman

Tries: Smith (3,37), Robinson (43), Greenhalgh (63)
Goals: Bradley 5/5
Drop Goal: Bradley
Sending off: Wellings (61) – late tackle

Penalty count: 7-8
Half-time: 12-12

Referee: Andrew Sweet
Attendance: 284

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 6-6, 12-6, 12-12, 12-18, 12-24, 18-24, 24-24, 24-25, 24-27

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