London Skolars U17’s Suffer ‘Golden Point’ Heartbreak

26th July 2016

London Skolars U17’s fell at the final hurdle this weekend as their perfect season came to an end with an agonising ‘golden point’ Grand Final defeat at the hands of Brixton Bulls.

Going into the game missing a number of key individuals, the Skolars knew they would be in for a tough task against a Bulls team who would be competing in their 5th Grand Final in a row. However having beaten Brixton during the regular season, and after a positive week of training the squad went into the game with a positive attitude and a winning mentality.

Brixton were very much the larger of the two sides, and had some fantastically powerful athletes in their line-up. However it was the Skolars who started the brighter of the two sides, with new-comer for 2016 Sam Hurding crossing the whitewash to give the Skolars an early lead, with his try converted by goal-kicking prop Nick Grimes.

The try galvanised Brixton however and with their superior pace and power across the board, saw them take a strangle hold on the game. The Skolars failed to win the collisions and stifle their quick play the balls, which meant Brixton’s strong running game from dummy half could expose the Skolars defensive retreat time and time again.

However this Skolars team are made of stern stuff, and their scrambling defensive efforts were outstanding, thwarting the Brixton attacking efforts. As half-time approached, Brixton kicked deep into Skolars territory, the ball was picked up by winger Tom Scott, who returned the ball with pace, busting through the Brixton kick chase and setting off on the way to the line. He out-paced the chasing defenders and dotted down under the posts for a vital try. With the final play of the half, Skolars were denied by the linesman, as a wonderful kick from half-back Tom Hamer, was tapped down to winger Scott, who crossed for his second try in as many minutes, however the play was called back by the officials who deemed the chase had been offside.

As the half-time whistle blew, Brixton breathed a sigh of relief as the boys from North London were firmly in the ascendency. The half-time team-talk from the Brixton coaches, as they reverted back to type with fast play the balls and one out rugby league creating holes in the Skolars defence. They crossed for 3 quick tries and raced into a 26-12 lead.

Many teams would have folded at this point, however the U17’s winning mentality that had resulted in their outstanding season, shone through and their goal-line defence was nothing short of incredible against a Brixton side that just kept coming directly at them. The Skolars found ways through with some smart play, and clawed back to within 6 points. As the game reached its climax, the Brixton team were tiring quickly and the Skolars sensed a chance of victory, marching their way up the field, with Daniel Hindmarsh, who had come up with some big plays all game, forcing his way across the line for a last-minute try. Nick Grimes, who had kicked well all game, slotted the kick through the posts and the Skolars had pulled off a remarkable come-back to put the game into ‘golden point’ extra time.

Again the break did Brixton all the favours, enabled them to re-group and start the game again, Skolars missed a chance at a drop-goal which would have won the game and that was their last say as Brixton used their attacking set to get deep into Skolars territory and finally break through the Skolars resilient defence for the game winning try.

The whole club would like to extend their congratulations to the U17’s however, and although they couldn’t add the Grand Final Trophy to their achievements this year, their successes over the season shouldn’t be forgotten. They will be celebrated at the club’s upcoming U15’s & U17’s awards night in September.

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