Cup Final Delight for U17’s

1st June 2016

After 3 consecutive Cup Final defeats, London Skolars U17’s finally got their hands on their second piece of silverware of 2016 as they secured the London Junior Challenge Cup this weekend 36 points to 16 in a pulsating fixture at Pennine Way.

The Skolars made a dominant start to the game, with huge second-rower Joel Kpoku charging over for the opening try, following some great work by the rest of his forward pack. Croydon’s aggression in defence and their linespeed was exceptional and there was some real pressure put on the Skolars half-back pairing of Joel Bateson and Tom Hamer.  However this allowed other creative players in the Skolars line up more space and time to play, with hooker Mitch Youngs and loose-forward Alex Pentecost exploiting any gaps in Croydon’s defence with some cleverly timed passes.

The Skolars game plan was based upon their impressive forward pack making metres and this proved incredibly effective in the first half, as the metres made after the contact from prop’s Ben Woodward and Sam Glossop gave the Skolars a great platform from which to play from, with Mitch Youngs benefitting from some quick play the balls, diving over from close range for 2 trademark hooker tries.

As the half-time hooter sounded the Skolars went into the changing rooms with a 20 points to 6 lead. However Croydon had looked dangerous and possessed some real firepower in their line-up, so by no means was it job done for the lads from North London.

A slow start in the second half by the Skolars, let Croydon’s 2 impressive half-backs begin to run the show with their kicking game causing the Skolars back 3 some real problems. The scored 2 tries in quick succession and it began to look like the strong Skolars start was going to unravel before their eyes, and for the next 10 minutes the game was all Croydon, bringing them back within touching distance of the Skolars lead.

However the Skolars maintained their nerve, began to settle down into their game plan again and slowly won the arm-wrestle back from their South-London counterparts. Further tries out wide from Jordan Rhoden, David Adekeye and a great finish from young winger Tom Scott meant that the Skolars were crowned London Challenge Cup Champions with a convincing score-line of 36-16.

Community Development Manager Matt Cuss commented ‘It’s fantastic to see our U17’s secure the Challenge Cup to go with the 9’s trophy they won at the beginning of the year. As we alluded to last week this side is a great bunch and are supported by some fantastic off-field volunteers, and it’s a great achievement for everyone involved for them to finally lift the cup today. Credit must go to Croydon for playing their part in what was a high quality game, it’s great to see 17 year olds in London that are capable of producing such a standard of rugby league.’

Cuss continued ‘I’m sure the coaching staff will savour this victory, however I know they will now refocus on the rest of the season, continue to work on developing this side and will be aiming to end up with a League Leaders shield and a Grand Final winners medal come the end of the year.’




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