London Broncos remain unbeaten at home in the Kingstone Press Championship, but this was certainly not amongst their best performances. Indeed they drew the second half 16–16, having conceded only six points in their last four home second-halves.
They made a great start, scoring in the third minute through Scott Leatherbarrow after good approach play by Api Pewhairangi. The Irish Kiwi stand-off added the extras from touch.
But Town hit back immediately, on the back of two London mistakes and took a six point lead. First to score, in the right corner was Brett Carter, on a last tackle play that was touched by London.
Jarrod Sammut added the extras and then drilled a deep kick which was gathered by Elliot Kear, near to the touchline and he was forced over the side for a Town scrum.
Jamie Doran’s astute inside pass, on the fourth tackle gave Jack Murray the chance to run to celebrate his 100th professional game with a try.
But the mistakes then flowed from Workington and the Broncos were clinical in punishing them.
On the back of a penalty, Pewhairangi made a powerful run, cut through two albeit weak tackle attempts to score beside the points and then added the extras to level matters.
There had been all of 16 minutes played and the score was already 12–12.
London then scored another pair of tries in quick succession. Alex Foster finished off after another Pewhairangi break had been continued by Iliess Macani.
Then it was the turn of hooker Andy Ackers, at dummy half, to feint a pass to the left, fake one to the right and then dive through the middle of the wrong-footed markers.
London weren’t finished and added two more tries before the break. First Kear burst through a large gap and touched down close to the posts as the Town defence gasped for air.
Then Mark Ioane crashed over from close range after a clever pass from Pewhairangi.
The second half was not as good as the first half as the intensity dropped in the heat.
Matt Garside knocked on 12 metres from the Town line as the Broncos missed out on the first score of the period – he had been denied a try when the pass to him in the last minute of the first half had been ruled forward.
Then, after Workington had made a mistake, Leatherbarrow tried to score himself though he had both Ben Hellewell and Rhys Williams better positioned outside him. He was tackled short of the line
Compounding the error, Hellewell threw a pass right into the arms of Jason Mossop. This led to a penalty and at the other end, Matty Gee scored his first Town try.
Kear scored from 35 metres out to extend the London advantage and the 50-point was mark quickly reached.
First James Cunningham finished off a Foster break and then Cunningham and Hellewell combined to give Williams his regular score.
The last words belonged to Town who scored twice in the final nine minutes. Sammut knifed through the line from a good Nathan McAvoy pass.
Finally prop Oliver Gordon fell on a Carl Forber kick which had ricocheted off a couple of Broncos defenders. Like Gee before him, it was his first try for Workington.
London coach Andrew Henderson said, “I think the game was won in the first half. We did some things very well and most of our defending was very good. But our goalline defence was very disappointing we were too passive in that area of the field.
“We’re pushing for a top two finish now. We set the goal at the start of the year of a top four finish. We’ve got ourselves in a position where we’re now sitting top two. Our destiny’s in our hands now. We have the ability to finish in the top two if we want it. That’s the challenge for us now, we’ve re-evaulatued our goals and we’re pushing for a top two finish.”
London Broncos: Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Ben Hellewell, Alex Foster, Iliess Macani, Api Pewhairangi, Scott Leatherbarrow, Nick Slyney, Andy Ackers, Mark Offerdahl, Daniel Harrison, Matt Garside, Jack Bussey
Interchange: James Cunningham, Jon Magrin, Mark Ioane, Eddie Battye
Tries: Leatherbarrow (2), Pewhairangi (15), Foster (18), Ackers (22), Kear (26, 49), Ioane (34), Cunningham (52), Williams (63)
Goals: Pewhairangi 7/8, Leatherbarrow 0/1
Workington Town: Jack Murphy, Sam Forrester, Declan Hulme, Jason Mossop, Brett Carter, Jamie Doran, Jarrod Sammut, Tom Walker, Callum Phillips, Oliver Gordon, Liam McAvoy, Matthew Gee, Graeme Mattinson
Interchange: Theerapol Ritson, Carl Forber, Alex Szostak, Ryan Verlinden
Tries: Carter (7), Murray (11), Gee (46) Sammut (70)
Goals: Sammut 3/4
By David Ballheimer