London Skolars 34 Workington Town 32: Workington Town suffered a nightmare second-half meltdown and crashed to a two-point defeat against the London Skolars, their first-ever defeat to the capital’s second team on the road.

It had all seemed so different when Workington, on the back of a very positive start, took the lead in the sixth minute.

Caine Barnes made a big break downfield. He drew in full-back Joe Brown and sent Jonathan Walsh over for a try in the corner. Carl Forber added the extras with a magnificent kick from the touchline.

Five minutes later, Jamie Doran made a strong run and Stevie Scholey, on his shoulder, took a short pass and crashed over between the posts.

London got themselves back in the game after a quarter of an hour when, from their first foray into Town territory, Richard Wilkinson sent Joe Brown over for the score, one Neil Thorman was unable to convert.

The Skolars got to within two points in the 23rd minute when James Barran kicked into space behind the posts and Mike Bishay was able to touchdown before any Town player could get close.

Fuifui Moimoi was introduced in the 25th minute and his first carry took him through four tacklers, leaving them strewn across the (all-weather) turf. One tackle later, Perry Singleton sent Scott Rooke over in the left corner.

London should have drawn level when Thorman grabbed an interception and went 50 metres before feeding Iliess Macani. He stumbled and was tackled, but the Skolars blew the scoring opportunity by kicking towards Jerome Yates on the wing and finding touch.

Karl Olstrom was the next Town player to score after 32 minutes. He really should have been stopped by a phalanx of tacklers but they all fell off him and, with two men draped around him, still was able to ground the ball. Forber’s third conversion made it 22-10.

Just before half-time on Saturday, Singleton had the chance to send Rooke in for his second try but, instead, went himself and managed to squeeze through two tacklers for a fifth Town try.

And, as the hooter sounded, Skolars were caught offside on halfway. Forber’s penalty attempt struck the left upright and bounced back into the field of play.

Two minutes into the second half, London scored their third try of the afternoon, Thorman making a break and sending Macani between the posts.

Before Town could touch the ball again, they were back behind their own uprights because Omari profited from a clever kick from Richard Wilkinson. The ball bounced high over the defence and the former Broncos and Hull KR flyer gathered the ball and made Thorman’s conversion a formality.

When Skolars were penalised and Jamie Doran kicked the ball to the London 20, it seemed another Workington score was likely. However, Dominic Smallwood knocked on after just one tackle.

A similar error, this time from Forber, kept Town’s lead at four points and midway through the second half, London put their noses in front when Macani scored in the right corner and Thorman’s conversion was as good as Forber’s first kick.

With 15 minutes to go, the fourth official ran on to the field, with Town two tackles into their set on the London 10, and play was halted for a good five minutes without any indication as to what had caused the delay. Having lost impetus, Town lost their way, too.

Seven minutes after play resumed (and already past the 80-minute mark), Barran kicked through on the last tackle and Richard Wilkinson was able to touch down right at the back on the in-goal area.

With five minutes to go, Jerome Yates thought he had scored in the corner, but the score was disallowed for a high tackle. London failed to take advantage, but when Town got into the Skolars’ red zone, the ball was thrown high over Rooke into touch.

In the 10th additional minute, Moimoi crashed over, but Forber’s drop-kicked conversion was the last action, the hooter going before play could resume.

Match Facts

Skolars: Brown, Yates, Grant, Caro, Macani, Barran, Wilkinson, Ross, Thorman, Sykes, Williams, Bryan, Bishay.

Subs: Ah-Kuoi-Atmore, Lloyd-Jones, Scott, Greenhalgh.

Tries: Brown (15), Bishay (23), Macani (42, 57), Caro (45), Wilkinson (72).

Goals: Thorman 5/6.

Town: Mellor, Rooke, Barnes, Singleton, Walsh, Doran, Forber, Wilkes, Butterworth, Scholey, Maudling, Olstrom, Hopkins.

Subs: Dawson, Moimoi, Roche, Smallwood.

Tries: Walsh (6), Scholey (11), Rooke (26), Olstrom (32), Singleton (37), Moimoi (80).

Goals: Forber 4/7.

Referee: Neil Bennett.

HT: 10-26.

Pens: 4-7.

Attendance: 629.

Star Man: Karl Olstrom.