Skolars v Pilkington Recs – Full Match Report

2nd March 2016

Alex Anthony - pilkington recs

Photo: Pilkington Recs

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Third Round

Final Score: Pilkington Recs 13 London Skolars 0


Skolars were knocked out of the Challenge Cup at the first hurdle, being nilled by Pilkington Recs. The amateur side from St Helens beating professional opposition for the first time in their history in a tough encounter that saw a couple of flare ups as both sides looked to progress to the next round.

Skolars had to defend during the early stages of the game. Joe Price’s tackle denied Ian Stanley the first score and Ben Gravener was held up over the line. Pilkingtons chose to run their penalties and their kicks on the sixth tackle were aimed deep rather than to the touchlines, which meant full-back Alex Anthony and both wingers had to work hard to start a set away from their own line. But Skolars often failed to complete their sets and those dropped balls were to cost the side dear. They were also not helped by injuries to Mike Worrincy and Dave Williams, the latter playing his 100th game for the club, both of which were off the field for a large part of the first half.

Pilks attacked again with Tom Roughley’s pass to Kyran Knapper giving the winger a run to the line, but he couldn’t control the ball under pressure. With three minutes of the half remaining, Erjon Dollapi put his foot out as he attempted a tackle and received a sin-binning. Greg Smith missed an easy penalty from just to the side of the posts from twenty metres out and Skolars would have been relieved not to have gone in behind at half-time.

With a nil-nil score at the break, it was clear that the first score was going to be crucial. It was the home side side that pushed forward, the ball out wide to Kyran Knapper who raced round the defence to score in the corner with Greg Smith successfully converting from the touchline.

Four penalties in Pilks’ half in a five minute spell gave Skolars a good chance to comeback, but again they falied to penetrate a determined defence. Their two best chances coming when John Paxton was stopped close to the line after a good break from Joe Price and Dollapi and when Michael Sykes was held up over the line. They couldn’t capitailse when a rare Greg Smith error saw a penalty fail to find touch or when the home side was put on a team warning for conceding another rapid set of penalties (11 in total in the second half).

Pilks started to attack again with breaks from Jonathan Peers and several barnstorming runs from prop Jamie Smith, who started as a winger with Leigh Centurions. He was held up over the line and the next set for Pilks saw Greg Smith slot over a drop goal from twenty metres out with ten minutes remaining, meaning Skolars would have to score twice.

There was still a faint chance for Skolars when Pilks picked up the short kick-off that didn’t go ten metres. But again their defence held out and when Andy Knapper finished off a passing move in the left corner the victory was assured and the crowd around the pitch at Ruskin Drive could start celebrating a famous victory.

As his side chanted “We want Bradford” after the game, coach and Bradford player Kurt Haggerty was delighted. “There’s been a real buzz around the club ths week and they were almost overtraining on Thursday. They were outstanding from the start, matching Skolars physically and good round the edges. We bombed two or three tries in the first half due to nerves, but they stuck in and worked hard for each other. I’m proud of them today”.



1 Ryan Hillard

2 Kyran Knapper

3 Ian Stanley

18 John Rees

5 Andrew Knapper

6 Greg Smith

7 Danny Lynch

8 Jamie Smith

9 Ryan Liptrot

10 Steve Charlson

11 Mike Garrityy

12 Tom Roughley

13 Jonathan Keys

 Subs (all used)

15 Liam Bostock

17 Jonathan Peers

16 Ben Gravener

4 Luke Riley


Tries: K Knapper (42), A Knapper (73)

Goals: G Smith 2/2

Drop-goal: G Smith



1 Alex Anthony

2 Sam Nash

3 Joe Ridley

4 Joe Price

5 John Paxton

6 Jermaine Coleman

7 Charlie Lawrence

8 Rob Thomas

9 Mike Bishay

10 David Williams

21 Michael Sykes

12 Will Lovell

13 Mike Worrincy

 Subs (all used)

19 Erjon Dollapi

18 Ben Gray

14 Ben Pointer

15 Eddie Mbaraga


Sin-bin; Dollapi (37) – attempted trip

Penalty count: 8-15

Half-time: 0-0

Referee: Liam Moore

Attendance: 500 (est)

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 7-0, 13-0

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