London Skolars 26 Whitehaven 44

Whitehaven got back to winning ways as they blew away the London Skolars on a sunny afternoon in the capital.

It was a rather strange game because at no time was it a contest. Either one team was on top, or it was the other.

The difference was that Haven scored regularly and defended superbly.

The damage was done in the second half of the opening period when Haven scored six tries without reply in 20 minutes.

London started well and should have scored after eight minutes when, aided by a couple of penalties, they got into good positions and took poor options.

Sam Nash was held up in goal from one dart and, from their next set, Lamont Bryan lost the ball as he tried to ground the ball.

Haven then had a couple of scoring opportunities which they wasted, Jessie Joe Parker lost the ball close to the London line and, on their next attack, a forward pass gave London a scrum on their own 10.

In the 19th minute, Dion Aiye made a break which ended just short of the whitewash.

A dummy-half run failed, but Carl Forster would not be stopped and he grounded the ball close enough for Dan Abram to turn four points into six.

From the restart, London defended well, but then conceded a penalty on the last tackle.

Given the chance of 30 free metres, Haven pressed forward and the pressure told as Aiye made no mistake this time, his body-swerve taking him past Omari Caro with breath-taking ease.

Aiye was front and centre for Haven’s third try in the 26th minute.

His chip over the top took a kind bounce and, after regathering, Aiye sent over Danny Green in the right corner.

Aiye scored his second try after half an hour, but all the hard work was done by Josh Eaves. The St Helens dual registration player burst down the right side and fed Aiye, who strolled between the sticks.

Six minutes before the break, after London had been given an official warning for persistent infringing, Aiye gave Connor Holiday an easy run to the line.

Abram got lucky with his conversion, the ball striking the inside of the post and dropping behind the bar by the opposite upright.

London didn’t heed the warning because, barely three minutes later, Matt Fleming was sin-binned for tackling a man without the ball as Haven tried to keep the ball alive.

And the last play of the half saw Haven take the score into the 30s when David Thompson dragged three tacklers over the line to touch down.

London started the second half much better and, after Eddie Mbaraga and Bryan were held up just short, the Skolars kept the ball alive and it was fed out to the right wing for Omari Caro to touch down.

In the 53rd minute, Rob Butler was illegally tackled a metre from the line, took a quick tap, and touched down through two surprised Haven defenders.

The rot was stopped four minutes later when Caro was forced into touch on second tackle on his own 20-metre line and, on the last tackle from Haven’s cheap possession, Chris Taylor scored in the right corner.

Having got the taste for scoring, Haven did it again, this time Forster sending Callum Phillips over.

Those two second-half scores may just have made the difference because Haven ended the game rather flatly, twice knocking on in good attacking positions.

And London certainly took full toll as Elliot Hall, Matt Fleming and Ryan Burroughs all scored down the left side.

Thorman converted two of the three scores, but it was little more than closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.

However, the last word belonged to Haven, who were awarded a penalty for dangerous tackle.

Knowing there were only seconds remaining, Abram kicked his sixth goal to round off what had been a pretty good afternoon.

Match Facts

SKOLARS: Hall, Finigan, Caro, Fleming, Burroughs, Thorman, Lyon, Sykes, Driver, Bryan, Nash, Williams, Chester. Replacements: Ngawati, Mbaraga, Davies, Butler.

Tries: Caro (42), Butler (53), Hall (64), Fleming (69), Burroughs (74). Goals: Thorman 3/5.

HAVEN: Abram, Green, Taylor, Mossop, Parker, Aiye, Phillips, Cooper, Tilley, Forster, Holliday, Thompson, Howarth. Replacements: Shackley, Coward, Gillam, Eaves.

Tries: Forster (19), Aiye (23, 30), Green (26), Holliday (34), Thompson (39), Taylor (58), Phillips (61). Goals: Abram 6/9.

Card: Yellow – Matt Fleming (London, 36, tackling a man without the ball)

Ref: Michael Mannifield

Half-time: 0-32

Penalties: 9-11

Attendance: 346

Star Man: Carl Forster