London Skolars give Whitehaven a real fright
Last updated at 13:26, Monday, 06 June 2011
Whitehaven 14 London Skolars 12: Lowly London Skolars last week enjoyed their first league since last August and yesterday came within a whisker of a quick follow-up.
If ex-Whitehaven winger Ade Adebisi had been able to reach a loose ball a fraction earlier, London would have been celebrating an historic victory.
With three minutes left on the clock, the hosts looked on helpless as Adebisi flew down the touchline chasing the ball, with not a defender in sight, only to see it roll dead just before he could touch it down.
If the London star had scored, it would hardly have been a case of rough justice on Haven, who were reasonably strong in the opening 10 minutes and not bad for another 10 late in the second-half.
But in between they were dire, absolutley awful. Haven have produced some fantastic performances this term, and there were no excuses for yesterday’s effort.
Coach David Seeds had warned his players they must not let their standards drop just because they were facing a basement team. But his calls apparently fell on death ears.
There were a few exceptions, notably Carl Sice, while Lee Doran once again gave it everything.
It looked to be plain sailing for Haven when hooker Chris Smith touched down in the third minute, latching on to a grubber after a defender slipped, Lewis Palfrey converting.
But that was to be the high point of the half for Haven, who never came close to subduing the visitors.
Moments later Smith again took advantage of a Scott McAvoy offload to launch a 60-metre move. The youngster took the ball in to London territory before finding Derry Eilbeck, who fed Craig Calvert on his outside.
The winger looked certain to score until bundled in to touch five metres out.
On 13 minutes, Skolars forced a drop-out and after three consecutive sets prop Austen Aggrey touched down between the sticks.
Dylan Skee levelled the scores and London again looked dangerous after full-back Andreas Bauer was bundled back over his line.
Haven held them out, but on their next set, Max Wiper fumbled 10 metres from his line.
London centre Michael Brown went on to propel the ball in to touch under heavy pressure, with his winger unmarked on the outside.
Haven went close on 26 minutes, Andrew Beattie barging through two defenders only to bounce the ball as he reached out to touch down. The loose-forward then produced a great tackle on Skee to force an error.
Wiper had a touch down disallowed for a forward pass on 31 minutes, and try as they might, there was no way through for Haven, who could not complain at the 6-all half-time scoreline.
Sice had been heavily involved for Haven in the first-half, and his deft dummy-half pass put McAvoy in for a try just two minutes in to the second period.
Playing at second-row for rested skipper Spencer Miller, regular centre McAvoy then broke 50 metres down the left flank, yet still there was no way through a keen London defence.
And suddenly it was Skolars’ turn to press, Doran arriving just in time to save a try after Jy-Mel Coleman’s kick deflected off a post.
When the reply finally came on 62 minutes it was well-deserved, full-back James Anthony touching down in the corner. Ex-Haven playmaker Skee handed London the lead with a superb conversion.
On the next set the Aussie sailed through Haven’s defensive line, possibly on the way to the whitewash, when pulled back by ref George Stokes for obstruction.
Suddenly Haven started to show a little urgency, with Sice the spark, once again.
When Haven snatched the lead on 72 minutes, it was no surprise that the hooker supplied the final pass of a flowing movement for Hamzat to score in the corner.
Skolars continued to press, Sice diving bravely to take Coleman’s attacking kick on his own line amid heavy traffic.
Adebisi could have won it at the death for London, though luck was with the hosts.
Expect much more desire from Haven in their next game in three weeks’ time. The opponents? Workington Town.
Haven: Bauer, Hamzat, Wiper, Eilbeck, Calvert, Palfrey, Rudd, Haggerty, C Smith, Hill, Doran, McAvoy, Beattie. Subs: Sice, Cullnean, Isakka, R Fox.
Tries: Smith, McAvoy, Hamzat; Goals: Palfrey 1
Skolars: Anthony, Small, Brown, Arnot, Adebisi, Coleman, Skee, Aggrey, Honor, Murtza, Obuchowski, Purslow, Coleman. Subs: Gee, Pascall, Willliams, Ball.
Tries: Aggrey, Anthony; Goals: Skee 2
Referee: George Stokes
Star Man: Carl Sice
First published at 11:27, Monday, 06 June 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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