Having spent the winter feeling fairly frustrated and planning my sporting 2014 without London Broncos new finally came that life in Superleague would carry on for my team. I felt let down by the lack of communication and told all and sundry I wasn’t going to be a member; the posh name for season ticket holder. But , all the same I went along to The Hive; new home of Barnet FC and now The Broncos to see what it was all about. After listening to Coach Tony Rae give a very candid and honest speech I decided I just had to support the club, hence I became the holder of a shiny membership card. In their wisdom the RFL decided it’d be a really good idea for the only rugby league team in London to play their first 2 home fixtures on the same day England RU played at Twickenham in the 6 Nations. That was a good plan! I had a ticket for England v Ireland so missed the Salford game, no such luck for the Wales game. Although disappointed to be missing such an important game live there was no way I was going to miss Broncos for the TV!
I made my way to North London in glorious sunshine; The Hive is only about 4 miles from Allianz Park, I could really do with a little Pied a Terre for weekends! The Hive has a great feel about it and as I parked it was clear that Warrington had brought good support with them, which was great to see. Warrington hadn’t been without a bit of turmoil with their talisman Lee Briers retiring and their enforcer Adrian Morley moving to Salford. I have to confess however that I was dreading their visit!
Rugby League is a game where momentum can be all and Wolves had a great start when after a mere 4 minutes Roy Asotati strolled through the Broncos defence to score; Stefan Ratchford duly converted to put the visitors in the lead by 6 points. My heart sunk at the ease with which Warrington scored. I had the same thought I’ve had virtually every year for the last 19 years that the opposition looked so much bigger! A Wolves knock on saw a scrum set and a free kick awarded to Broncos, much to my delight Nick Slyney scored an easy try; Mike Bishay (he of Take me Out fame!) converted to take the scored to 6 all after 10 minutes. My notes at this point say that Warrington seemed a bit out of sorts, I’m not sure that’s a technical RL term but it certainly proved to be so as Ben Farrar took a great pass to run in and score; Bishay again converted. Again to go back to my notes I typed ‘Momentum and Belief’, it seemed that these Broncos boys had it! Thomas Minns scored Broncos 3rd try to extend the lead, after a couple of sets, the conversion was missed on this occasion. With 23 minutes on the clock Broncos were leading 16 to 6!! The lead wasn’t to remain at 10 points as both Chris Bridge and Rhys Evans scored for Warrington. Ratchford missed both conversions but the lead was narrowed to 2 points as the teams went in at half time.
So, a feel good first half as a Broncos fan, we won the half! To more negative matters, I have unkind thoughts about the linesmen in RL every year and felt the same at half time; both Broncos and Wolves players made high tackles that were totally ignored, I ask regularly but I will ask again! What are they for; that’s a rant that will most likely keep reappearing!
Could a surprise win be on the cards for London Broncos? It seemed not as there was a shocking lack of tackling to allow Gene Ormsby to run straight through to score, the second half started as the first half had; Stefan Ratchford converted to put the Wolves back into the lead. A position they weren’t going to relinquish. Reece Evans added another 4 points after Broncos gave away a soft penalty; the conversion was missed. My fellow Broncos fans gave the impression that every pass by Warrington was forward; I do hope that isn’t going to become a feature. Broncos had a couple of sets after being awarded a penalty but failed to take advantage as a kick out to Jamie O’Callaghan had him need to be at least a foot taller! I think I may keep this half short and sweet and recount the Warrington tries quickly so I don’t have to relive them for too long! The afternoon was to belong to a very speedy looking Reece Evans as he added another 2 tries to the 2 he’d already scored. Ryan Atkins, never one to miss out scored 2 tries of his own; the final try of the game seeing him intercept a try to run the length of the field to score. The second half was one of far too many poor or missed tackles by The Broncos.
The score finished on London Broncos 16 Warrington Wolves 44 a big victory in the end for the men in yellow and blue. However there were many positives to take from the game for a Broncos side who are learning about each other. The next home game? Coincides with the 6 Nations again, another miss for me as I’ll be watching Wales v Scotland in my favourite stadium, The Millennium. I’ll be following the score and keeping my fingers crossed that the boys can get some points on the board.