I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but this time I really do mean what I say; with the 5th Test due to start I need to get up to date before I find myself swamped with cricket ‘stuff’, I’m there every day.
So, this really is going to be more Phlog than blog. Due to fixture clashes and cricket gallivanting it’d been a while since I’d managed to get to the New River Stadium, it’s been a challenging season for the Skolars so far as they rebuild under player/coach Jermaine Coleman.
Both team had played 17 games before they met, Skolars had won 4 and were lying 12th of 14, York had won 13 and sat in 2nd.
When the teams emerged that same old thought of – they look fitter and bigger – came into mind, it’s felt that way with rugby league in London from the day I started watching London Broncos 19 years ago.
However it was Skolars who started strongly, after York had twice failed to deal with a kick – Sam Nash took full advantage and scored. Mike Bishay was wide with the conversion.
York hit back quickly through Greg Minnikin – he seemed to stroll in to score in the corner – again the kick failed to find the centre of the posts – and the scores were even.
Skolars were next to fail to deal with a high kick, seeing the ball knocked out, their goal line drop out was pounced on again by York and Ryan Mallinder ran through largely unimpeded. Ben Dent added the extras to extend the lead.
A penalty for holding down gave York more field position and Jamel Chisholm had an easy run through to score, Dent was again successful with the kick. York had extended their score to 16.
At half time it felt that York could run away in the 2nd half, however Skolars again started the half brightly – my description typed at the game says – Lamont Bryan used his size and dancing feet to run through and score – I like that so I’ll stick with it. Tommy Connick’s kick close the gap to 6.
York were awarded a silly penalty after Jermaine Coleman held the leg of a tackler – not only seeing the ball turned over but costing 2 points as Dent slotted the ball over the posts. A York fan nearby had a moan, but with a kick in front of the posts and a slim lead it has to be worth making your lead a 2 score one – in addition you get the ball straight back!
Coleman made up for his leg aberration by kicking a superb 40/20 – Skolars won a 2nd set on this attack and Dave Williams surrounded by what looked like half the York team got over the line to score. Tommy Connick added the extras and the gap was down to that penalty.
Skolars went close twice but failed to score, it was to be York who went over the line after a great kick through Brad Hay touched down, Dent converted.
The Skolars kick off was rightly called as a short one by one of the York fans, the York players hadn’t anticipated that in the same way and Bryan leapt salmon like in the air to flick the ball back. Skolars were then awarded a penalty and from the ground gained Will Martin went in under the posts. Connick’s conversion closed the gap to 2 again, that penalty was looking like a good move!
Jack Blagborough made a superb break for York, storming down the centre of the pitch, Aaron Small, half his size caught him and brought him down, showing the effect of a well executed tackle.
A Greg Minnikin try in the final minutes after a short pass by Williams had been dropped by Bryan was converted by Bryan giving a final score of London Skolars 22 York City Knights 30. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game of rugby league with both teams playing well.
Next up at the New River ground is the popular Friday Night Lights fixture as a precursor to the Challenge Cup Final – hopefully that’ll be as entertaining.