May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Co-Operative Championship 1
London Skolars 17
Barrow Raiders 30
Skolars looked like they might upset the league leaders after taking an 11-point lead into half-time – but three early tries in the second half showed why Barrow top the division.
The home side’s first-half performance was all the more remarkable given that they twice had a player sin-binned and scored all their points with a numerical disadvantage.
The first sin-binning came 10 minutes in when Neil Thorman was yellow-carded for holding back Liam Campbell. But when Barrow spilled the ball and then conceded a penalty, Skolars took advantage and Dylan Skee’s long pass found James Anthony, who opened the scoring.
Dave Arnot nearly added a second try for the hosts, but was bundled into touch – and player-coach Joe Mbu was then sin-binned for a late tackle.
The defence continued to hold out though, and with half-time beckoning Andy McLean kicked a drop goal from inside his own half before adding a late try to leave Skolars 11-0 up at the interval.
That proved not to be enough of a cushion as, having enjoyed the benefit of a very strong wind in the first half, Mbu’s side turned around to play into the gale in the second period.
They had also played for 20 minutes with 12 men and, although they had defended resolutely to shut their opponents out during those
periods, the impact on their energy levels was always going to hamper their chances of retaining their lead against a fast, powerful Raiders outfit.
Stung into action, the visitors quickly turned the game around. Liam Harrison broke through down the left to narrow the gap and James Dandy then went over from dummy-half.
Barrow scored a third try two minutes later as Andy Ballard finished off a Harrison break, and just nine minutes after half-time they were 18-11 up and in control.
Skolars narrowed the gap back to one point when Brad Hopkins created a gap in the defence on the left flank.
However, Barrow scored two more tries in quick succession through Martin Ostler and Andy Ballard, and Ryan Shaw’s fifth conversion denied Skolars a deserved bonus point.
Skolars’ seventh defeat from their 11 league games leaves them seventh out of the 10 teams in the division – 12 points off the top four promotion spots with seven games to play.