London Broncos returned to winning ways on Friday night with a hard fought victory at the Crown Oil Arena against Rochdale Hornets.
At times, during a defensive first half, it was hard to really tell which side were the fulltime outfit as Rochdale showed why they had pushed Toronto so close a few weeks earlier. It seemed we were again about to see an error strewn affair from both sides with penalties and knock ons a plenty making the chance of any fluent play very hard indeed. Right from the kick off and within four minutes London had picked up three penalties but could not make the advantage count.
Rochdale took their first penalty from the Broncos being offside and there was Ben Moores on the crash, from dummy half, and the hosts were four points in front. Dual registration player, Harvey Livett, took the conversion and Rochdale led six points to nil and the Broncos looked rattled.
The sets were being churned out by both sides and but for a knock on, on 8 minutes Sammut would have been away and the scores would have been level. Two minutes later the Hornets were away and running and Kieran Dixon came up with an enormous try saving tackle forcing the home side into touch. James Meadows, who again had a good game, kicked a 40:20 and from the ensuing play Rhys Williams burst through only for an offside call bringing play back. The sustained pressure from London finally paid off and after a phase of four sets in a row Jarrod Sammut, at hooker, played the ball to Kieran Dixon who, after a trademark step inside, raced over the line and with Sammut adding the two the scores were level on 35 minutes.
The hosts claimed their lead back within 3 minutes, as Livett made up for a penalty goal he had missed earlier in the half by adding two points to the scoreboard after another penalty against the visitors and when Dec Patton slotted home a drop goal London went into the break trailing for the fourth game in a row.
The Broncos came out for the second half looking really fired up and were forced into an early change as Will Lovell came off with a head knock, which would end his game, and on came another young London product in Daniel Hindmarsh. The hosts three point advantage lasted just three minutes of the change and after the ball had gone through the hands of five Broncos players Dixon bounced off Yates’ attempted tackle to give the Broncos a lead that would prove to be decisive.
Eddie Battye was putting in a momentous shift and after 52 minutes finally left the field to be replaced by Lewis Bienek. Broncos were now a side full of young home grown talent with Hindmarsh, Meadows, Bienek, Adebiyi and Davis all playing their parts and on 54 minutes Sadiq Adebiyi showed the strength he possesses and crashed over from close range to extend the lead.
His second came from a penalty when the prop forward was on the end of a clothes line tackle. Hindmarsh picked up the ball and after a tremendous run was stopped just short. Sammut played the ball to Adebiyi and he was over again for his second of the game. Sammut again added the extras and the gap had widened to 13 points.
Play went back and forth between the two teams but when Jay Pitts broke through the middle on 66 minutes Dixon was on his shoulder to take the pass and the fullback darted over for his hat-trick try and it was game over.
Declan Kay gave the hosts a consolation try on 73 minutes but the second half performance of the Broncos will have given Head Coach Danny Ward a lot more faith in his squad as they showed the form of the first six games of the campaign. Dixon rounded off his evening with a penalty at the end to see the Broncos take away the two points by a margin of 30 points to 15.
The Broncos now travel to Leigh Centurions for a Challenge Cup tie before returning, for the first time in April, to Trailfinders Sports Club to take on Dewsbury Rams and the chance to again consolidate their top four position.
Dec Kay, Richard Lepori, Taylor Welch, Earl Hurst, Deon Cross, Dec Patton, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Ben Moores, Luke Adamson, Toby Adamson, Dave Allen, Harvey Livett. Subs: Lewis Hatton, Pat Moran, Billy Brickhill. Not used: Blake Turner.
Tries: Moores (6), Kay (73) Goals: Livett 3/4 Field Goal: Patton (40)
Kieran Dixon, Elliott Kear, Michael Channing, Ben Hellewell, Rhys Williams, Api Pewhairangi, James Meadows, Thomas Spencer, Jarrod Sammut, Edward Battye, William Lovell, Jay Pitts, Matthew Davis. Subs: Sam Davis, Lewis Bienek, Sadiq Adebiyi, Daniel Hindmarsh.
Tries: Dixon (34, 45, 66), Adebiyi (54, 58) Goals: Sammut 3/4, Dixon 2/2