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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Improving London Skolars push Workington Town all the way

Workington Town 27 London Skolars 20: There are no walk-overs now in Co-operative Championship One as one-time whipping boys London Skolars proved at Derwent Park.

Marc Shackley photo
Marc Shackley

Town certainly deserved to win but they were made to work hard to stay among the early-season pacemakers as the Skolars showed how much they have improved.

If Town had been more clinical with their finishing in the second-half the Londoners would have left with nothing but instead they went home with a bonus point and it was a deserved reward.

London Skolars went in front after eight minutes after enjoying most of the early possession in the early exchanges.

There’s not much of second-rower Alex Bate, a little barrel of a man, but he put in a telling break from 30 metres which spelt danger. He off-loaded but the ball went loose via a Town hand and centre Chris McNamara picked-up before holding off a tackler to make the line. Dylan Skee converted.

Skee’s kicking was a feature of the first half when Skolars had the wind behind them and one particularly good 40-20 meant Town were pinned back again.

The siege was raised by a particularly effective, mazy run by Brett Carter and from that moment Town came to life and it wasn’t long before they were level.

They enjoyed good possession and forced a drop-out on their visitors before, on 13 minutes, Hull KR dual registration loose forward Dave Peterson was able to finish off by the posts, twisting out of a hefty tackle to get the ball down. Carl Forber added the conversion.

The game was flowing from end to end and when Skolars put together a good, go-forward set it was finished-off accurately as they regained the lead on 20 minutes.

Skee aimed a deft chip into space behind Town’s right-hand defence and the lively ex-Whitehaven winger Ade Adebisi finished off well for Skee to add a fine touchline conversion.

Town then enjoyed their best spell of pressure in the half and two tries in the space of five minutes put them in front for the first time.

Good hands along the line had the Skolars defence spread-eagled and Elliott Miller finished off in the corner, but Forber’s effort to convert came back off the post.

However on 33 minutes a clever inside pass from Forber saw the powerful Jamie Thackray plough through three tacklers to dive over the line. Forber converted.

The Skolars were all square at the break, though, when another delightful kick by Skee into the corner saw Adebisi arrive late for a fine opportunist try. Skee missed the conversion.

It took Town three minutes to get ahead after the restart and it was Jarrad Stack who did the spadework, holding firm in a tackle and then off-loading to Miller who dotted the ball down in the corner.

Stack has been hindered by injuries so far this season but this was more like the Australian who has become a huge crowd favourite at Derwent Park.

It was Stack who helped stretch the Town lead on 55 minutes when he powered his way past two tackles before cleverly side-stepping a third and then giving young Peterson a walk in for his second try which Forber converted.

In previous clashes with the Skolars that would have been the signal for the floodgates to open, but this side is made of sterner stuff and within two minutes they came back to score again.

They capitalised fully on a Workington drop-out and on last tackle Adebisi swept in at the corner for his hat-trick try which Skee was unable to convert.

Town could have increased their lead but some wrong options, hurried passes and poor support meant they missed-out on three possible tries.

Their only addition to the scoreboard was a drop goal from Forber on 75 minutes which everyone except the officials thought had drifted wide of the post.

Workington Town: Carter, Miller, Mossop, Rooney, Patrick, Bainbridge, Forber, Macdonald, Mattinson, Coward, Shackley, Phillips, Peterson. Subs (all used): Olstrum, Farrer, Stack, Thackray.

Tries: Peterson (2), Miller (2), Thackray. Goals: Forber (3). Drop goal: Forber.

London Skolars: Anthony, Paxton, Price, McNamara, Adebisi, McLean, Skee, Williams, Thorman, R. Thomas, Bate, Hopkins, Bryan. Subs (all used): Purslow, Smith, Aggrey, M. Thomas.

Tries: Adebisi (3), McNamara. Goals: Skee (2).

Penalties: 6-6.

Half-time: 16-16

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow

Crowd: 430

Star man: Marc Shackley

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