London Broncos put in a fantastic display away at Barrow on Sunday, July 29th to overcome the points deficit, between themselves and Toulouse, to end the regular season in second place for the third time in three seasons.
With the French side victorious on Saturday, against Dewsbury, the gap was 45 points going into a tough away game in Cumbria and London blew it out of the water by coming out victorious by 72 points to six on a blustery day in the north-west.
The game started in a cagey fashion with both teams completing their sets until on 11 minutes Api Pewhairangi kicked a superb 40:20 with the wind and the Broncos had advanced up the field. The Kiwi took the tap and in the blink of an eye was over the line to open the scoring. Dixon converted the kick and London led by six points to nil.
On 18 minutes a London penalty for offside saw Pelissier tap and go. The ball went through hands and Alex Walker skipped around the defenders to widen the gap to ten. Dixon again converted and the lead was at 12 points.
Within five minutes the Broncos were over the line again this time following a break through the defence from Walker who passed out to Williams and the Welshman was over next to the posts. Another conversion from Dixon saw the gap widen to 18 points and the target of 45 points grew ever closer.
27 minutes gone and London put up a high kick that was taken by on-loan Ryan Burroughs but the play was messed up and it led to a goal-line dropout. A penalty to the visitors followed and the Broncos capitalized as the ball went again through hands and there was James Cunningham to dance over the line and score the Broncos fourth try in 16 minutes. Dixon again converted and the gap was getting wider and wider.
On 32 minutes a chip over the top from Pewhairangi was chased down by Dixon who forced the Barrow defender to palm the ball into touch and from the scrum, Pelissier decided to go down the blindside to Pewhairangi who in turn passed to Dixon who went over in the corner. He failed to convert his own try but with seven minutes to go in the half the Broncos led 28 points to nil.
With 35 minutes gone Barrows troubles went from bad to worse as Referee, Ben Thaler decided that While had gone into a tackle on Ioane with his knees and he spent the next ten in the sin-bin for the yellow card offence. The Broncos ran the ball and just as Daniel Harrison came on for Ben Evans he took his first touch of the ball over the line to score. Dixon again missed the conversion but the visitors were creeping ever closer to a second place finish.
Pelissier, in the first half, had been massively influential in everything but the Frenchman departed on 38 minutes to be replaced by Jarrod Sammut and within two minutes of coming on a Walker break saw the fullback stream away and pass the ball inside for Sammut to score on the hooter. The Maltese converted his own try and the halftime score saw the Broncos lead by 38 points to nil.
The Broncos came out for the second half at the same time as the sun decided to come out too and it seemed to spur the Broncos on again when on 57 minutes Pewhairangi put up a high kick and Sammut got to it above the defence to bat it back to the visitors. Somehow the ball was worked along the line to Williams in acres of space and he was over again. Sammut continued with the kicking but missed the conversion and the Broncos were underway again.
Three minutes later Cunningham picked up the ball in the dummy half position in his own half and beat the entire Barrow defence to score under the posts with a fantastic run. Sammut converted and the 45 point gap with Toulouse had been overcome and the Broncos were now in second place!!
Could they keep up the pressure? The answer was a resounding Yes as on 62 minutes a high ball went up and who was there to catch and go over but Alex Walker to score a trademark try. Sammut again kicked the extra two points and the scoreboard now read 54 points to nil. The Fullback scored his Hattrick try on 66 minutes following a great move from the Broncos. Dixon was tackled and Pelissier darted inside to get the ball out wide and three passes later Walker was over again and with Sammut again kicking the two the visitors had hit the 60 points mark.
Barrow, to their credit, kept knocking at the Broncos door but on the last tackle of their set on 71 minutes Sammut intercepted on our 20m line and sprinted under their posts with the defence in his wake. He again converted to take the score to 66 points to nil.
Barrow’s heart came to fruition on 74 minutes as they were held up but saw Dallimore go over next to the posts to give the home fans something to cheer. He converted his own try and Barrow were on the scoreboard which read Barrow six, London 66 with less than five minutes to play.
The clock ticked down but there was still time, on 77 minutes, for Elliot Kear to pick up a loose ball in his own goal, break downfield to the Barrow 10 metre line and pass inside to Rhys Williams for a try made in Wales. Sammut again converted and as the Hooter sounded the Broncos ran out winners by their biggest points difference win away from home in the Championship.
From the first game of the season, Danny Ward has had a total belief in his men despite the comments from outside the club.
“We’ve not taken any notice of anyone outside this club”, the Head Coach said. ” We have now silenced a lot of people”
The Broncos now move on to the Super 8’s Qualifiers with the following games:-
Away:- Hull KR, Widnes Vikings and Toronto Wolfpack
Home:- Leeds Rhinos, Toulouse Olympique, Salford Red Devils and Halifax RLFC
LONDON BRONCOS:- Walker, Dixon, Hellewell, Kear, Williams, Pewhairangi, Cunningham, Battye, Pelissier, Evans, Pitts, Hindmarsh, Spencer
INTERCHANGES:- All Used – Butler, Sammut, Ioane, Harrison
TRIES:- Pewhairangi(11), Walker (19, 62, 66), Williams ( 23, 57, 77), Cunningham ( 27, 60), Dixon ( 33), Harrison ( 36), Sammut ( 40, 71)
GOALS:- Sammut 6/7, Dixon 4/6
BARROW RAIDERS:- Johnston, Gambaro, Crelin, Loxham, Burroughs, Dallimore, Parata, Duffy, Mossop, Barthes, Bullock, Holmes, Susino
INTERCHANGES:- All Used- Aspinwall, Riley, While, Saidty
YELLOW CARD:- While
TRIES:- Dallimore ( 74)
GOALS:- Dallimore 1/1