14th May 2019

BetFred League 1 – 11 May 2019

London Skolars 19 North Wales Crusaders 18

Skolars joined Whitehaven at the top of the table, with the Cumbrians leading the table on points difference having played one game fewer. Skolars had to work hard for the win, having trailed for most of the game and having been outplayed by the Crusaders in the first half.

They could well have trailed by more than six points at half-time. Crusaders’ Ben Stead kicked an early penalty and kicked two further penalty goals in the first half, when his side might have chosen to push their territorial advantage home.

North Wales’ only try of the half came when Skolars failed to defend a cross-field kick by Ben Stead, Steven Roper taking advantage to touchdown. Skolars finally got onto the scoreboard in the final minute of the half, moving the ball out to the left from a scrum in Crusaders’ half. Joe Brown cut through to score, notching a club record in their professional era for scoring tries in six consecutive games, beating the record previously held by Dylan Skee and Mufaro Mvududu. However, he’s got some way to go before beating the all-time club record, (Alfie Petelo’s eleven game scoring streak at the start of the 1998/199 National Conference League Division 2.

The second half saw Crusaders again dominate the early stages, but Skolars’ strong defence stopped them from turning pressure into points. Brad Brennan and Kenny Baker were both held-up over the line in the same set, but when the ball got to Roper on the last tackle there were no runners ready for him to pass to and he was caught with the ball. Their next attack saw Lameck Juma hoof the ball dead, but after the drop-out, Simon Atherton lost the ball as he tried to ground it.

From a scrum on their own ten metre line, Skolars got the ball to the right and Omari Caro and Iliess Macani flew down the wing before Macani cut inside to score, Thorman’s conversion levelling the scores. Crusaders regained the lead when Warren Thompson and Atheton both flicked the ball back to Lewis Fairhurst whose dummy opened the defence wide part for him to stride through to score, Stead kicking his fifth goal of the afternoon.

The error count grew on both sides. Crusaders were dragged into touch on the first tackle ten metres from their line, then failed to get to high kick from Craig Mullen and Lamont Bryan was the grateful recipient, James Barran converting with Thorman off the field. Three minutes later, Mullen kicked a drop-goal from the right of the posts. Crusaders tried to draw level, but first Steven Roper was bundled up as he looked for a drop-goal ten metres out, then Skolars got close enough to force Lewis Fairhurst to put his attempt low, before holding out for the last set of the game.


 1 Joe Brown

 2 Iliess Macani

 4 Omari Caro

 3 Jacob Ogden

  5 Lameck Juma

  6 James Barran

  7 Craig Mullen

  8 Liam Scott

 9 Neil Thorman

10 Malikhi Lloyd-Jones

11 Jordan Williams

12 Rinaldo Palumbo

14 Mike Bishay

Subs (all used)

22 Jon Magrin

15 Rob Tuliatu

16 Matt Ross

20 Lamont Bryan

Tries: Brown (40), Macani (52), Bryan (74)

Goals: Thorman 3/3

Drop-goal: Mullen (77)


 1 Lewis Fairhurst

 2 Dave Ecclesto

 3 Matt Reid

  4 Earl Hurst

  5 Rob Massam

 6 Steven Roper

 7 Ben Stead

 8 Callum Hazzard

 9 Karl Ashall

10 Warren Thompson

11 Alex Thompson

12 Simon Atherton

13 Kenny Baker

Subs (all used)

14 Kenny Hughes

15 Brad Brennan

16 Jonny Walker

17 Chris Worrall 

Tries: Roper (10), Fairhurst (62)

Goals: Stead 5/5

Penalty count: 6-7

Half-time: 6-12

Referee: Tom Crashley

Attendance: 248

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-2, 0-8, 6, 0-10, 0-12, 6-12; 12-12, 12-18, 18-18, 19-18 

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