All Golds get stuck in the mud as Skolars dish out a lesson
LONDON SKOLARS 20 GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL GOLDS 0
THE Gloucestershire All Golds put in a determined, if unrewarded, performance in terrible conditions at the White Hart Lane Community Stadium.
Three tries from the Skolars maintained their play-off hopes in the Northern Rail Cup while dashing those of the All Golds.
The conditions dictated play in this Pool B game with the ball continually being lost in contact and the 40 scrums packed must be some sort of record. Players could barely move in the morass in the middle of the pitch and soon became almost indistinguishable anyway.
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The All Golds enjoyed a good first half with the game reduced to an arm wrestle as they defended well, looked organised on attack and displayed a much better kicking game than previously.
However, they could not convert the territory they worked hard to gain and the Skolars just had the edge in that department though they were made to work hard for each of their three scores.
The first score came after 12 minutes after the All Golds survived a period of pressure well until a long pass from Oscar Thomas undid them and Joe Price slid over, Dylan Skee converting.
James Gahan then did well to tackle Smokie Junor into touch at the corner flag as the home side looked to build on their advantage.
However, the visitors stood firm. The pitch steadily turned from green to brown, became very difficult to run on and the first half turned into a slog with few breaks as both sides looked to play close to the ruck.
Approaching the half-hour mark, the Skolars extended their lead as huge prop Rob Thomas bulldozed his way through to the line and Skee added the easy goal.
That was it until the break with the All Golds' best chances coming when Pat Evans almost broke free down the left and Richard Jones decked a hard pass from Jordan Rice on the line. The Skolars started the second period strongly and the All Golds conceded a raft of penalties before Louis Robinson slid over from Skee's short pass, the halfback adding his third goal of the day.
Shortly afterwards, Callum Mulkeen was almost away but was called back for a knock on, heralding a period when the All Golds spent some time in the Skolars 20 though both sides still struggled to handle the ball.
In between the scrums, there were few chances made. Thomas made a long, relieving break for the home side while Sam Blaney's good charge came to nothing as his pass went to ground. Gahan and Mike Stewart both went close as the All Golds chased a deserved score.
However, it was not to be and conditions became almost farcical as the game went on before Skee finished the scoring with a penalty in the final few minutes.
Both sets of players should be congratulated for their efforts in truly dreadful conditions and All Golds coach Brad Hepi was pleased with his side in the trying conditions. "I was more than pleased with the guys' effort and attitude today,", he said after the match.
"They really had to aim up after the last two weeks and their performances with a lot more passion and pride and today they did just that".
SKOLARS: 1 James Anthony; 4 John Paxton, 21 Jamie O'Callaghan, 3 Joe Price, 2 Smokie Junor; 6 Oscar Thomas, 7 Dylan Skee; 14 Erjon Dollapi, 9 Martyn Smith, 13 Scott Wheeldon; 11 David Stephenson, 12 Mike Worrincy; 10 Dave Williams (Capt). Subs: 8 Rob Thomas, 23 Jack Dillon, 16 Louis Robinson, 17 Danny Burke.
ALL GOLDS: 14 Tawanda Cuipadze; 2 James Gahan, 3 Callum Mulkeen, 19 Marcus Brooker, 17 Pat Evans; 5 Tim Bergin, 7 Matt Bradley; 8 Mike Stewart (Capt), 13 Jordan Rice, 20 Mike Venn; 11 Joe McClean, 12 Richard Jones; 6 Tyla Hepi. Replacements: 21 Ollie Yeats, 10 Sam Blaney, 15 Marcus Brown, 16 Mike Norman.
Man of the Match: Skolars – Martyn Smith; All Golds – Tawanda Cuipadze
Referee: Tom Crashley (RFL Appointment)