3rd March 2020

BetFred League 1 – 1 March 2020

London Skolars 16 North Wales Crusaders 40

Having played into the wind in the first half, Skolars would have been the happier of the two sides at the break as they went in two points down. However, they failed to score in the second half as Crusaders took control of the game.

Skolars had got off to a great start, forcing an error on the first tackle of the game. A scrum twenty metres from the Crusaders’ tryline saw Skolars get the ball to the right, for Lameck Juma to slip past the defence. However, North Wales levelled the scores when prop Warren Thompson rampaged past the defence from twenty metres out.

They went into the lead from their next set after Jordan Penny broke down the right for Dave Eccleston to finish off in the corner. Skolars went for a short kick-off, but picked up the ball before it had travelled ten metres. The visitors almost scored again Gavin Rodden being adjudged offside as he ran on to a kick into the in-goal area.

Strong runs by Matt Ross and Lamont Bryan put Skolars in a good attacking position for Jerome Yates to go over in the corner, Neil Thorman converting from the touchline to level the scores. Thorman scored himself a few minutes later, but his scoot from dummy half saw him pulled into touch in-goal.

Some quick plays saw North Wales get downfield and Earl Hurst’s strong run saw his side regain the lead. That lead was narrowed when Richard Wilkinson cut-through on the right to score, Thorman missing a difficult conversion.

Crusaders piled on the pressure at the start of the second half.

A repeat set after goal-line drop-out was stopped by a knockdown, giving Crusaders another six tackles, but when they were awarded a penalty, they elected to kick a penalty goal. They extended the lead soon afterwards with Steven Roper’s high kick to the right wing committing two defenders who were then out of place when the ball came back to Gavin Rodden, Johnson adding the conversion.

Skolars had a good opportunity to narrow the gap after Mike Bishay forced a goal-line drop-out, but a forward pass stopped the attack. They didn’t use the swirling wind as they might have done, whereas North Wales controlled their game and cut-out many of their earlier errors. Matt Reid was well positioned to take Elliott Jenkins’ pass, but lost the ball with the line begging. They went three scores ahead when Jordan Gibson’s dummy opened up a massive gap for Jordan Penny to touchdown. Johnson added another penalty, Gibson then scored himself as his side created an overlap on the right and he cut through as Skolars tried to get across. Johnson’s conversion saw him finish with eight successful kicks from eight attempts.

London Skolars

  1 Jacob Thomas

  5 Iliess Macani

25 Kam Pearce-Paul

  3 Max Clarke

  2 Jerome Yates

21 Ben Steele

  7 Richard Wilkinson

  8 Matt Ross

  9 Neil Thorman

10 Oscar Stone

11 Lameck Juma

19 Mike Greenhalgh

13 Mike Bishay

Subs (all used)

14 Shay North

17 Costa Charalambous

12 Jules Hobbs

18 Lamont Bryan

Tries: Juma (2), Yates (24), Wilkinson (34)

Goals: Thorman 2/3

North Wales Crusaders

  1 Tommy Johnson

  2 Dave Eccleston

  3 Jordan Penny

  4 Earl Hurst

  5 Rob Massam

  6 Elliott Jenkins

  7 Jordan Gibson

  8 Brad Brennan

  9 Brad Billsborough

10 Warren Thompson

11 Matt Reid

12 Gavin Rodden

13 Chris Barratt

Subs (all used)

14 Steven Roper

15 Ryan Millington

16 Jack Cottington

17 James Tilley

Tries: Thompson (11), Eccleston (14), Hurst (28), Rodden (47), Penny (62), Gibson (75)

Goals: Johnson 8/8

Penalty count: 10-10

Half-time: 16-18

Referee: Michael Mannifield

Attendance: 223

SCORING SEQUENCE:  6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 12-12, 12-18, 16-18, 16-20, 16-26, 16-32, 16-34, 16-40

Watch the full game here.

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