Rugby league is a northern game so some will say – I of course will disagree wholeheartedly! Having watched London Broncos (sometimes known as Quins RL) for 19 years I count myself as an avid fan of the game. In more recent years I’ve also had a season ticket for London Skolars, plying their trade in White Hart Lane in North London they have a strong allegiance with the Broncos.
It’s been possible to fit both teams games in but for this season the RFL in their wisdom have decided on more than a few fixtures which clash! Similarly Hemel Stags another team I have a season ticket for this year seem to be at home at the same time as both Skolars and Broncos far too often this year! Not very clever by the powers that be!
However on this occasion I was able to get to London Skolars for the visit of the University of Gloucestershire All Golds. Yes, there is a rugby league team in the county!
Both teams went not their 3rd league game with a win and a draw under their belts; Skolars had seen a troubled pre-season with their coach of many years Joe Mbu losing his post after a disastrous cup game against Swinton – seeing them lose by a mere 82 points! New coach Jermaine Coleman – previously a player at the club had only been in post for a few weeks.
The teams emerged into a chilly afternoon – summer rugby isn’t here just yet! The All Golds kicked off and Skolars made an early schoolboy error in letting the ball bounce out – that gave the visitors an early advantage. Possession on the first tackle in the opposition half so often leads to a try – and so it was to prove in this case. Callum Mulkeen found himself in space out on his wing and ran in to score, the kick was a difficult one and was missed by Matt Bradley (formerly of Skolars).
Skolars did well to hold the All Golds out holding them up over the line at one point, facing 2 consecutive sets Skolars seemed to be having a problem with tackling man and ball meaning All Golds were offloading at will – that will always make things very difficult for the defending team. My notes tell me that in contrast All Golds were wrapping the ball up in the tackle.
All Golds were disrupting Skolars game plan well, causing them to make errors – the ball didn’t go into the visitors half at all for at leat 15 minutes. When they did go close – over the All Golds line in fact they knocked the ball on. As they did in a later set – All Golds chipped the ball over and Mulkeen scored his 2nd try.
The 3rd All Golds try was an exciting one as Steve Parry made a great run up the centre of the pitch evading 2 tacklers before off loading to Phil Cowburn who scored the try of the game! James Bradley added a very simple 2 points taking his team to 14 points.
There were really no positives to take from the 1st half for the home team and things got worse for them when Matt Bradley twisted and turned to score a try of his own – his conversion took the score to London Skolars 0 All Golds 20 at half time. It felt like we might be looking at a cricket score in the 2nd half! The All Golds looked a cohesive unit playing with the skill and speed needed to win the game by some margin.
An early error by All Golds with a kick going out on the full gave Skolars a good attacking platform and in common with their competitors in the 1st half they made the most of it. Jimmy Morgan was the benefactor of quick hands as he put the ball down in the corner – James Anthony had a difficult task with the kick and failed to convert.
The All Golds looked to have regained their advantage after they gathered the ball from the kick off, but a knock on in the 1st tackle saw Skolars back in possession. Jon Wallace had plans for Skolars and scored a great individual try using all of his strength! Sam Druce added the extras closing the gap to 10 giving some hope to the home team.
The All Golds were given possession after it looked like they dropped the ball – the referee wasn’t near to the play and gave it as a knock on against Skolars. Jamie Murphy scored straight from the score running into space – another good try. The conversion hit the posts.
We had a series of errors by both sides as the game went a bit scrappy (a technical term of course) one of those errors gave more good territory for the All Golds and Jamie Crowther made the most of it with a powerful try, Matt Bradley made no mistake with the conversion this time.
Skolars had shown some fight in the early part of the 2nd half but in the final minutes the All Golds regained their dominance Olly Purslow – another ex Skolar – made a break that defied his stature – he powered up the field at speed, passing to Courtney Davies who scored the 6th and final try for the All Golds, Matt Bradley added the 2.
The game finished with the score on London Skolars 10 All Golds 36 – a convincing and deserved win for the visitors and lots to work on for the home team.
London Skolars v All Golds Rugby – Event 44 http://wp.me/p5wvCC-pc via @wordpressdotcom – More photos at debsknigsport.com