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Co-operative Championship One: London Skolars 48 Gateshead Thunder 22

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Skolars racked up nine tries in a convincing home win – but they made life difficult for themselves after letting their visitors back into the game before half-time.

Having led 20-6, Skolars conceded 10 points in succession and took a slender 20-16 advantage into the interval – but they recovered from the scare to bank their second league victory of the campaign.

Coach Joe Mbu said: “We almost let it slip, but we showed good character to stay in there and did what we needed to do. It was a stern half-time team talk; the message was to keep it simple.”

Skolars started strongly, with early scores from Ade Adebisi and Brad Hopkins putting them 8-0 up.

Thunder pulled a try back through Tom Hodgson, but the home side extended their lead as Lamont Bryan and Mike Worrincy made it 20-6 in the 19th minute.

Gateshead finished the half on top though, with Joe Brown scoring against his former club and Brett Waller barging over shortly afterwards to narrow the gap to four points at the break.

That was as close as the visitors got, however, because Skolars came out for the second half with greater determination.

Adebisi and James Anthony crossed the line to make it 32-16 just after the hour-mark and, although Paul Stamp briefly narrowed the gap again, Hopkins added his second score.

Adebisi completed his hat-trick three minutes from time, but there was still time for Martyn Smith to race 20 metres to score the home side’s ninth try – and for Dylan Skee for kick his sixth conversion.

Skolars – who are seventh out of the 10 teams in the table as they chase the top four promotion spots – have a break this weekend and are then at home again against Workington Town on Sunday June 10, at 2pm.

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