Another afternoon at the New River Stadium and another crazy, action filled game of rugby league, many of my rugby union fan friends are pretty dismissive of the ‘other code’ – most of course haven’t watched the game live! It was hard to keep up with everything in this match, as I was taking photos, making notes and tweeting, all the while listening to the test match at Trent Bridge. Hopefully I have the key facts right!
It’s a risky tactic on most pitches, let alone an artificial one, that was what happened as the Skolars receiver firstly let the ball bounce then knocked on. Cue the Hornets first try for Paul Brearley, I only noticed later how tall he was as he was standing next to Jermaine Coleman, who isn’t a short man. Having checked out the facts I see he’s 6ft 7, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a tall man playing rugby league!
Rochdale benefited from a couple of sets from the kick off and after a break by Reece Dean, Dan Nixon went over for their second try, we were only 7 minutes into the game, both conversions were successful and the visitors had a lead of 12.
Skolars had a good attacking opportunity but a long pass from Jermaine Coleman was juggled and the ball lost. Good territory led to a third try for the Hornets, this time it was Jordan Syme and Skolars were 18 behind after just 17 minutes.
There was an altercation on the far side of the pitch, I believe a punch may have been thrown. A Hornets player me discussion a Skolar, Aaron Small followed suit. A penalty had been given to The Hornets and I was expecting to be reversed, but the referee kept it with the visitors. Worse was to come for the home team when Kam Pearce-Paul was deemed to have lifted his target, he had his hands between the players legs and he landed awkwardly. a red card was shown. The card felt harsh, there were similar tackles throughout the game, but, he did have the chance to stop, the referee had called held. Skolars would play the rest of the game with 12 men.
That mini disaster however saw things turn around as Malikhi Lloyd-Jones took things into his own hands, he broke clear and scored under the posts.
One try often leads to two in this game and as I was tweeting Max Clarke scored Skolars second, with phone in hand it meant my camera wasn’t, sorry Max! That 6 point gap was stretched by the Hornets moments later when Skolars failed to tackle ‘man and ball’ and Shaun Ainscoughgit his arm snaked round to pop it to Brearley, who cantered in for probably one of the easiest tries he’ll score this season!
Skolars were awarded a couple of penalties the last one being on the stroke of half-time, sensibly Neil Thorman took the two. The score was London Skolars 14 Rochdale Hornets 24 at half-time.
The second half started well for Skolars as Mike Greenhalgh went over the line, with his twin brother Judd also on the pitch it can get a bit confusing at times, but, it was definitely Michael.
Could the 12 men of Skolars hang in there or better? Rochdale’s Tom Ashton took them further ahead in what was an end to end game. they were back to 1 10 point lead. The conversion hit the posts.
Skolars were awarded consecutive penalties in the opposition half and that territory saw Tom Firth storming through a gap to score.
This was like a game of ping pong, no sooner had Skolars scored before Luke Fowden touched down for Rochdale! A 10 point gap again.
A Skolars game isn’t complete without a Lamont Bryan try and his name was next on the score sheet, as he used all of his power to go over the line after a great break from Lameck Jumq earlier in the play. He’s not a man who’s easy to stop close to the line.
Toby Warren appeared to become the invisible man as he sailed through the Skolars defence, a great run, Luke Littlewood scored to take Rochadale to 38.
Skolars had the final word with a Lameck Juma try, the conversion was successful but not quite enough to close the gap. The final score was London Skolars 34 Rochdale Hornets 38 – a thoroughly entertaining game of rugby!