London Broncos went down 30 points to 40 at Trailfinders, on Sunday May 6th, to Leigh Centurions in a game that lived up to the temperatures in which it was played.
Broncos had lost the previous two encounters in the preceding five weeks, against Leigh and were looking to open a gap between themselves and the visitors at the top of the BetFred Championship.
The game started at a pace that belied the weather and within seven minutes a Leigh knock on was picked up and kept alive by the hosts and sent out to winger, Rhys Williams, who went over to open the scoring. Sammut, who didn’t miss a kick all afternoon converted and Broncos held a 6 – 0 lead. The lead did not last long, however, as Meadows’ kick through on the last tackle bounced up off of the foot of Rhys Evans who caught the ball and ran the length of the pitch to touch down. Ben Reynolds converted and with only 10 minutes gone we were back all square.
The ball was exchanged back and forth with both sides making mistakes until on 16 minutes the visitors trapped the ball in a scrum and the home side were caught, cleverly, offside. The penalty was kicked and within two passes winger Peter Mata’utia had passed inside and Leigh captain, Harrison Hansen was over to take the lead for his side. Reynolds again nailed the conversion and the visitors had taken the lead 6 – 12.
Play carried on at a frantic pace with both sides putting in some big hits on each other resulting in numerous knock on’s and mistakes until on 31 minutes good London pressure forced Crooks to knock on and from the scrum fullback Alex Walker danced his way through the defence , unchallenged, and over to score beside the posts. Sammut converted and with eight minutes to play the scores were level again.
With two minutes of the half left to play Alex Walker put in a huge try saving tackle to prevent the visitors from taking a halftime lead but they were not to be denied as Craig Hall crashed over from the resulting play and the Broncos trailed 12 – 18 at the break.
The second half started the way the first had finished with a penalty to London almost immediately but Sammut lost possession and Leigh tried to capitalise. Matty Gee had other ideas and picked up the ball, broke through the line and showed a turn of pace to evade the chasing defenders to touchdown beside the posts and with another Sammut conversion the game was again all square with all to play for.
A period of real pressure from Leigh then ensued with them being held up over the line preceding a knock on from London but the hosts held out and made their way up the field until on 50 minutes a long pass out wide from Sammut was intercepted by Hall who ran unopposed to score with Reynolds kicking the conversion to give them an 18 – 24 lead.
Leigh were back on top and on 52 minutes former retiree, Mickey Higham, broke from dummy half, sold Alex Walker a dummy and sailed over for his first try since coming out of retirement. Reynolds kicked the two and the gap had widened to 18 – 30 with 20 minutes to play.
With 56 minutes gone James Cunningham showed his skills as he broke through and almost controlled the ball with his feet only to be stopped in his tracks and a penalty given against the chasers for holding down. Hutchison was deemed to have been cynical in the play and referee, Greg Dolan, showed the yellow.
James Meadows, from the tap, took the ball and wiggled through the bodies to score for London and give them a glimmer of hope that the comeback was on. The kick went through the uprights and we were back within six points but London went on to give away a dubious offside and Reynolds took the two points on offer and with 63 played the score was now 24 – 32.
Hutchison returned after the sin bin on 65 minutes and within two minutes of his return Broncos loose forward, Sadiq Adebiyi had popped up out of nowhere and crashed over to get the home side even closer and with the kick successful we had a two point game.
Broncos hearts were however to be broken as the northern side came up with two tries in the last 9 minutes, from Hall and Mata’Utia to put paid to any hopes of a famous win for the Broncos. Reynolds missed both conversions but on the final hooter the Broncos had lost at home for the second time this season by 30 points to 40.
The result leaves the Broncos still in fourth place but now on the same points as Leigh Centurions and Halifax RLFC.
They have the chance, however, to get closer to the top three with a win in their re-arranged game at Sheffield on the 13th May followed by Sheffield again at home on the 20th of May. They will want to get those points on the board before they head to Summer Bash to face Toulouse on May 27th and a trip to Toronto at the beginning of June.
Tickets for the game at Trailfinders versus Sheffield Eagles are available here :- https://londonbroncosrl.com/match-day-ticket-sales/
London Broncos: Alex Walker, Kieran Dixon, Michael Channing, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, James Meadows, Jarrod Sammut, Ben Evans, Matt Davis, Eddie Battye, Jay Pitts capt, Daniel Harrison, Sadiq Adebiyi. Interchange: Mark Ioane, James Cunningham, Will Lovell, Matt Gee.
Tries: Williams (12), Walker (37). Gee (45). Meadows (60). Adebiyi (70);
Goals: Sammut 5/ 5.
Leigh Centurions: Peter Mata’utia, Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Craig Hall, Rhys Evans, Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison, Nathan Mason, Liam Hood, Jamie Acton, Harrison Hansen capt, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Micky Higham, Ryan Bailey, Greg Richards, Kyle Lovett.
Tries: Evans (13). Hansen (24). Hall (39, 53). Higham (55). Hood (73). Matautia (75);
Goals: Reynolds 6/8.
Referee: Greg Dolan.