Anniversary Series: Part 8 – London Cup Final

28th April 2021

The Student Rugby League Old Boys (as Skolars were then known) were on track for a London League and Cup double in their inaugural season in 1995/6. They reached the final of the cup with a resounding 52-22 win over Fulham Travellers.

The Cup Final took place on 28th April 1996 at East London RFC, which was then also home to East London RLFC. It was a big weekend for the sport with the Challenge Cup Final having taken place at Wembley the day before, the first final since 1987 that Wigan weren’t to win, having been knocked out by Salford. The competition straddled the game’s centenary season and the first Super League season and the final saw a famous comeback as St Helens defeated Bradford Bulls, despite a Robbie Paul hat-trick.

LARL finals day saw Basingstoke Beasts take on Brent-Ealing seconds in the LARL Bowl final, the Beasts having knocked our SRLOB’s seconds in the quarter finals. The Cup Final itself saw SRLOB’s first team take on Peckham Pumas.

Peckham had enjoyed a Wiganesque cup run in the LARL Cup winning seven finals on the trot between 1974/5 and 1980/1, with eight titles in all more than any club. It took the Old Boys a quarter of an hour to score their first try, but they then took control leading 22-6 at half-time. They went to win 40-10 to lift the trophy. The most memorable moment of the game came from Peckham Pumas when one of their players picked up a loose pass and raced downfield. He’d gone 70 metres on a sweltering hot day by the time the referee blew his whistle for an infringement and it was a long trudge back. The PA announcer was a Puma’s supporter and she made her views about ref Phil Knaggs. The game then stopped before a restart with a replacement announcer!

The Old Boys had rounded off their first season with a London League and Cup double, a final in the Southern Counties Cup and a commendable performance in defeat against one of the top amateur sides in the Challenge Cup.

They’d also found time after winning the league to go on a Easter tour to France playing Salon and Cavaillon, losing the first game 24-28 and the second 34-36 . A tour was to become a regular feature in the early days, culminating in a trip to Russia and Tatarstan in 1999.

Thanks to Martin Snell for photos and scores for many of the games over the 1995/6 season.

The team photo was taken at East London:

Top: Martin Snell, Ady Paul, Jason Samuel, Marc Simon, Martin Greatorex, Mike Carter, Paul Blazdell, Nigel Kitching, Hector McNeil

Bottom: Bobby Brown, Ian Taylor, Hakeem Ashorobi, Aaron Dann, Mike Morgan, Paul Wood, Alan Knight, Scott Kennedy, Charlie Oyebade

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