U15s march into Junior Challenge Cup Final

7th May 2014

U15sA warm morning down at Feltham RFC saw the first proper summer weekend of the London Junior League Year, as the Staines Titans welcomed Skolars undefeated U15s.

Skolars started as big favourites, however the determined Staines side were in no mood to roll over and accept defeat. It was a tight game from the off with Staines Titans shocking the confident Skolars early on with some strong runs through the middle. Well controlled by two able halves and with some explosive runners out wide, they began to make easy yards against an unorganized Skolars defence. This fast start by Staines definitely rattled the Skolars and it became a real battle for the first 20 minutes. However credit to the Skolars as they regrouped and managed to go into half-time with a slender lead of 2 points. Head Coach Fred Pentecost gave his team a bit of a roasting at half time and it seemed to have had its desired effect as the second half kicked off.

Skolars began the second 40 with much more control and discipline. Half back Andrew Tilley and hooker Alex Pentecost began to play to game-plan and their big runners in the middle, led by work horse Ben Woodward began to take their toll on the smaller Staines lads, with 2 quick tries breaking the Staines resistance and putting the Skolars firmly in control. With the Staines defence now tiring, there were holes everywhere, and directly from kick off Jordan Rhoden caught the ball, he looked up and spotted a gap in the midfield, sidestepped a number of flailing Staines defenders and outpaced the chasing wingers and fullback to score a spectacular try that sent the large Skolars contingent on the sideline into raptures. It was a truly sensational try and the perfect way for Skolars to guarantee their place in the Challenge Cup Final at the end of the month. That was the second of Jordan’s tries that game and he was joined on the scoresheet by Andrew Tilley x2  and Joel Bateson, Alex Pentecost, Tom Hamer and Patrick Addison who crossed for one try each.

The U13s also went South of the river to play in the Shield Competition at Twickenham RFC, the home of Richmond Warriors. Again another large squad turned out for the Skolars, with a few new faces again. Thrown into a tough game early on against a very aggressive Croydon side, the young Skolars took time to adjust and unfortunately lost the opener. This defeat took its toll on the Skolars also as they lost influential players William Prior and Gabe Ackley.

However, as has been the case across a number of age groups at the Festivals this year, once the Skolars youngsters had got this out of their system they began to play some really impressive rugby league and won the remainder of their group games to earn themselves a final place where they could reacquaint themselves with Croydon again.

A much improved performance saw them turn around a 4 try deficit from the 1st game into an outstanding performance which saw them just fall short of a win, losing the final 4 tries to 3. It certainly bodes well for the U13s remaining fixtures, where they will be looking to push for a play-off place.

Meanwhile back at New River there were a large number of new faces too. The Skolars Community staff have been working hard this week and started up 3 brand new after-school clubs at local Primary schools, and a number of these children came across to the Saturday training. Our youngest charges are looking forward to playing in their next festival at Richmond on Saturday.

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