After watching cricket in positively arctic weather I travelled to Ealing in something far more akin to June! London Broncos had fared well at the Summer Bash beating Sheffield Eagles by 14 to 32; Workington had a narrow loss to Whitehaven. Both teams had played 15, with Broncos having 12 wins to Workington’s 2.
It will never cease to amaze me that these men play the hugely physical game of rugby league in the height of the summer, I was finding it extremely hot simply sitting there, let alone running at speed and crashing into the opposition!
I was intersted to see Jarrod Summat playing for Workington, he’s a game changer/winner, Broncos would need to keep him under control.
This was only the 3rd time I’d seen Broncos play, a narrow loss at Leigh and a big win against Whitehaven had me impressed.
The game started at 100 miles per hour with Scott Leatherbarrow, with Api Pewhairangi again showing his ball skills, in the absence of captain Wes Naiqama Pewhairangi was charged with the kicking and he converted the try with a superb kick from touch. Would Broncos have it all their own way?
Well no they wouldn’t! Brett Carter scored in the corner for Workington after what had looked like a forward pass from a distance, but the ball had hit a Broncos hand on the way to him making the decision by the officials a good one. Sammut kicked an equally impressive conversion to make it 6 apiece.
Workington had the next score with Jack Doran scoring the try on his 100th professional performance; Summat added the extras and the visitors were ahead by 6.
However that was to be the end of the points scoring in the first half for Workington as they made errors and Broncos played some great rugby to capitalise.
Pewhairangi having made the first try scored the second showing his pace he ran through two would be tacklers before touching down, he added the extras to even the score up.
Pewhairangi and Iliess Macani combined to put Alex Foster in for Broncos third try, this was exciting running rugby, shout out loud exciting stuff! The kick was missed but Broncos were drawing ahead.
Andy Ackers showed his skill dummying first one way then the next before diving over the line for a try, baffling the defenders as he went. The successful conversion saw the score on 22 minutes stand at London Broncos 22 Workington Town 12.
Elliot Kear got in on the action next, scoring a great try as he too dummied to run through the resulting gap, he’d backed himself and was rewarded with the try. Pewhairangi added the 2 points.
Broncos weren’t finished and another sweet pass from Pewhairangi to Mark Ioane saw him crash over the line, the conversion saw the teams go in at half time with the scores on London Broncos 34 Workington Town 12.
I’m going to have a bit of a rant now before I go into the second half, one I think I may well write a whole article around – that term; ‘Whinging Poms’ – I really am beginning to understand why it exists. The crowd was reasonable for a Championship rugby league match and amongst them were a hugely vocal Workington fan and some very loud Broncos fans who seemed to thing the referee was wrong on every decision that went against their own team.
By my reckoning there was a nasty tackle on Api Pewhairangi which effectively put him out of the match, the referee seemed to see it but allowed play to carry on, as you would. But, he failed to go back and deal with the offending tackler, other than that I’d say he had a good game and certainly didn’t deserve some of the ridiculous shouting, particularly in the second half from a handful of Broncos fans.
Inevitably Workington gained some momentum in the second half and in effect it was a draw as both teams scored 16 points. This also brought shouts of derision from a small number of home fans, I do wonder how many have played 80 minutes of professional rugby league in the heat of the day?
Matthew Gee scored for Workington 6 minutes into to half before Broncos answered with another 3 tries; Elliot Kear scored another great try after making a run, he feinted a pass to run in for his second try; Pewhairangi added the extras. James Cunningham then Rhys Williams on his 50th appearance scored – Pewhairangi converted the first but was off the field for the second – Scott Leatherbarrow missed the final conversion.
Broncos had 50 points on the board, 50! Having seen this club lose by that and higher on a regular basis that was amazing! But, it wasn’t good enough for a few fans as Workington had the last word with 2 scores of their own. That man Summat showed his capabilities with a great try, duly converted before Oliver Gordon touched down for Workington’s 3rd try of the half. Summat added the extras to see the final score at London Broncos 50 Workington Town 28.
Workington deserved their tries, they kept pressing when there really was no chance of a win for them, at the risk of offending a few fellow fans, I do feel that rather than shout abuse at their own team who’d scored 50 points the minority should consider that fact and show support all the way through.
Andrew Henderson Broncos Coach said after the game –
‘We’re pushing for a top two finish now, we set the goal at the start of the year of a top four finish. We’ve got ourselves in a position where we’re now sitting top two. Our destiny’s in our hands now. We have the ability to finish in the top two if we want it. That’s the challenge for us now, we’ve re-evaluated our goals and we’re pushing for a top two finish’
If Broncos continue to play the way they have been, that position is certainly achievable!