London Broncos v Workington Town

With ‘summer’ rugby starting its’ season in February I always have several clashes as the Premiership gets towards the business end of the season.  I missed Broncos introduction to the Kingstone Press Championship – a win against Doncaster as Saracens were playing Bath the same day.

Having been in the North for 2 of the World Club Challenge games I managed to get across to Doncaster to watch Broncos take on the Sheffield Eagles . Not the best day at the office with The Eagles scoring 40 to Broncos 6, they also suffered injuries to 3 key players.

Next up for Broncos was a visit to The Leigh Sports Village to play the Champions Leigh Centurions. That trip was always going to be a big ask, the scoreline was Leigh 25 Broncos 12.

Workington Town came to The Hive having only played 2 league games, they’d travelled to Batley to be beaten by 30 to 6 then faced Doncaster at home, reversing that scoreline as they beat them 33 to 6.

Workington Town came into being in 1944 joining the senior section of the Rugby League in January 1945.  They reached the top in the short space of 6 years defeating Warrington in the final at Main Road in May 1951.  A meteoric rise by any standards, particularly as they added the Challenge Cup a year later.

Times have been harder in recent years, a club with a great tradition they will have travelled to the Hive with the great hope of beating the London team.

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We saw the 1st ‘scrum’ of the game as Broncos knocked on after the kick off, not the best of starts.  It wasn’t the best of starts for poor Ben Farrar as he took a knock to his head in need of decent sized bandage early on.

It was a Workington player Sam Forrester who was to be the ‘victim’s the 1st piece of drama on the pitch as he went flying over the hoardings as he chased a ball.  It looked very nasty from a distance but after some attention form the medics he emerged – looking a bit worse for wear, but ready to go.  (take note footballers)

Matt Garside showed his heels to the Workington defenders as he ran to the 40m line after taking a kick – the effort deserved a lot more than the knock on that came moments later.  Both teams exchanged sets and attacked with intent.

To the delight of the home crowd it was Broncos who scored first, with Brad Dwyer throwing the dummy twice to run in and score a great try.  Wes Naiqama converted to put the home team 6 ahead.

Brad Dwyer was to become provider a few minutes later as he surged up the field, passing inside to Matt Garside who’d been tracking him – Garside scored, Naiqama converted – 12 nil to Broncos.

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There’d been a clumsy tackle on Richie Mathers in the build up to the try giving the need for yet more tape, the time around Mathers ankle.  A truly talented player, from the perspective of a long term Broncos fan I was thrilled when he was signed.  As I watched the game it was great to see several other players showing great skill,  Jarrod Sammut for one played a pivotal role in the centre of the field, his kicking game was spot on.

The teams went in at half time with the score on London Broncos 12 Workington Town 0.

Richie Mathers didn’t reappear after half time but could be spotted towards the end with a boot in his foot and crutches in hand, here’s hoping that was a mere precaution.

Workington got a lucky break 4 minutes into the half as Summat threw a pass without appearing to look, Perry Whitely caught the ball and took full advantage running half the pitch to score, Carl Forber added the extras.

It took a mere 4 minutes for Jarrad Stack to add the 2nd try for the visitors, he scored in the corner making the conversion a problem, the ball missed the posts.  My notes taken during the game say – Workington Town have upped their game!

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I’m not sure when Logan Tomkins made his entry for Workington but his presence was very noticeable as he started to run the game for his team, he certainly put in loads of tackles too!  It was a surprise to see him playing, yet as a league fan good to see his skill on the day.

Jonathan Wallace who seems to have improved his game over the break scored for Broncos after Ben Farrar had ‘jinked’ through 3 men to set him up,  Wallace used his strength to get over the line.  Naiqama added the 2.

One of the Workington players – no 30 – sorry, no team sheet – took a heavy knock in midfield, from the stands it looked like he may have been concussed, but after some attention he carried on.  I still have a real concern over how head knocks are treated in league, I’ll probably mention it a fair bit as the season goes on.

It looked like Workington had scored next, but it was deemed that the ball was knocked on.  Summat showed his dummying (probably not a word) ability as he set up the next Broncos try for Tom Gilmore – Naiqama converted the try to take the score to Broncos 24 Workington 10.

Jack Murphy took a superb high ball from a Broncos kick, Broncos being penalised a he came down, another penalty came later as Broncos were penalised for a shoulder barge.

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Workington closed the gap after Brett Phillips broke through a tackle, he passed to Carl Forber who both scored and converted the try.  The gap was closed to 8.

Rhys Lovegrove who’d put in a good performance lifted that as he made a storming break up the centre of the pitch, just when it looked like he’d stop, he did something so many players don’t do and backed himself t run in and score the best try of the game.  Naqaima who had been faultless stepped up and again added the 2.

The game ended with a moment of controversy – Illiess Macani who looked like he’s had a lot of gym time during the close season took a pass – from a Workington player – he turned the speed on and got to the try line.  I thought he was help up, as did several Workington players, but the try was given.  For once Naiqama missed the posts.

The game finished with the score on London Broncos 34 Workington Town 16 – it was a very enjoyable game, both teams can take positives from it.  The season ahead should be a to brighter than last year for London fans.

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