London Broncos 30 (18), Dewsbury Rams 10 (6)
Match Report by David Ballheimer
London Broncos bounced back after the disappointment against Bradford to see off a well-disciplined and adventurous Dewsbury Rams.
Home fans were delighted to see long-time Broncos hero Paul Sykes lining up for the Rams and he put in a typically unfussy performance alongside another veteran of many battles, Liam Finn, making his 150th appearance in a Dewsbury shirt.
London made an excellent start and were two tries to the good inside the opening quarter as Josh Walters and Matty Fozard, in the unusual position of scrum half, went over for tries, both improved by Chris Hankinson.
London had additional playmaking and dummy-half options with Meadows at full-back and Sam Davis in the hooking role.
The game was played at some speed, the lovely sunshine and relatively light breeze making things much easier for the players. Both teams made good forays forward and did well passing out of tackles to keep moves flowing.
However, when London were penalised for offside, Dewsbury took full toll and reduced the arrears after 21 minutes. Sam Wood used his height to leap over Meadows, catch Finn’s bomb close to the line and plunge over, Sykes adding the extras.
Key moments came just before half-time. First an overlap down the left gave Dewsbury a great chance to score in the corner, but the pass to Will Oakes needed to find a winger much taller than him to bring the score.
Then, as the hooter sounded, the Broncos attacked down the right. Meadows fed Will Lovell, who attracted two tacklers and he was able to get the ball out to Walters who dived over next to the corner post. Hankinson added the extras to make it 18–12 at the half.
The Rams made a good start to the second half and from their opening set another great pass out to the left wing would have resulted in a try for Oakes if he had been tall enough to reach the ball as it sailed over his head.
Instead it was the Broncos were the next to cross. On a last tackle play, Meadows dummied a kick and passed to Cory Aston. He made yards towards the shuffling Dewsbury defence and sent the ball to Rhys Curran.
The second-rower could probably have scored himself, but he passed inside to Aston, who scooted behind the posts to make Hankinson’s conversion a formality.
To get back into the game, Dewsbury needed to score immediately, but it took them until almost an hour had elapsed. Once again, the Rams moved the ball quickly and with the full-back chiming into the line, Andy Gabriel was the extra man and he ran closer to the posts, but not close enough as Sykes’ kick missed to the left.
Almost immediately Jarrod Sammut came off the bench to loud cheering, but he was quite reserved in his play. Nonetheless his mere presence was a threat which attracted extra defenders.
Taking advantage of this Meadows started and finished a move down the left side, the hard yards forward being made by the supporting Hankinson before the ball was passed back to the full-back, who scored with aplomb.
The conversion which followed, by Hankinson, was routine, and it was the last score of the afternoon. Dewsbury continued to probe, but they were guilty of dropping the ball or throwing forward passes close the London line on a number of occasions.
1 James Meadows, 23 Josh Hodson, 3 Chris Hankinson, 4 Will Lovell, 17 Abbas Miski, 6 Cory Aston, 9 Matty Fozard, 28 Titus Gwaze, 14 Sam Davis, 12 Rhys Curran, 10 Greg Richards, 13 Josh Walters, 25 Jacob Jones
7 Jarrod Sammut, 15 Romain Navarrete, 16 Dan Hindmarsh, 18 Jordan Williams
Tries: Walters (10, 40), Fozard (15), Aston (45), Meadows (66)
Goals: Hankinson 5/5
4 Matt Fleming, 2 Andy Gabriel, 3 Adam Ryder, 33 Zack McComb, 5 Will Oakes, 6 Paul Sykes, 7 Liam Finn, 10 Tom Garratt, 14 Sam Day, 23 Jonathan Magrin, 11 Jason Walton, 12 Michael Knowles, 39 Sam Wood
1 Joe Martin, 9 Reiss Butterworth, 13 Chris Annakin, 20 Aaron Hall
Tries: Wood (21), Gabriel (59)
Goals: Sykes 1/2
Referee: Aaron Moore