The London Broncos snatched a last minute victory at Bower Fold this afternoon, coming back from six points down to defeat the Roughyeds in an error riddled 80 minutes.
Sam Wood got the Roughyeds off to a strong start, touching down for the first of the game with only 42 seconds on the clock. Leatherbarrow’s kicking game was in fine form, and he kicked his first of three, before a head injury ended his afternoon somewhat prematurely.
Sammut responded for the Broncos on seven minutes, when some creative play saw him collect his own chip, and evade Oldham’s defence to dot down, before converting his own score.
At 6 a piece, both teams went set for set. High pressure from both sides forced multiple errors – and Grimshaw looked to be the home side’s next score, attempting to dart through London’s line, before a nice tackle from Kieran Dixon brought him swiftly down.
17 minutes in, London held Oldham players up on the line on at least four occasions, in a display of brilliant try line defence that wouldn’t end all afternoon.
Wood went over for his brace on 23 minutes after collecting a Leatherbarrow kick to the corner, before the former Bronco duly added the two.
After Grimshaw knocked on, the Broncos fed the scrum, and a cracking team attacking effort followed – continually driving at Oldham’s line, seemed as if it were to no avail, before quick feet and hands from Andy Ackers, diving over from dummy half.
Sammut converted for another 12-12 level score.
With seven minutes remaining, Oldham were awarded a penalty, and opted to kick for the two. Leatherbarrow’s kick went straight through the uprights, sending the home side into the break in the ascendancy.
The second half produced two more penalty kicks for the Roughyeds and Hewitt added the extra four, after taking over kicking duties after Leatherbarrow’s exit from the field.
With the home side six points ahead, Sammut found a break in Oldham’s line and took it, racing 30 metres before a beautiful offload to skipper, Daniel Harrison, got him over the line.
Sammut uncharacteristically missed the conversion, and London remained two points down.
With four minutes to go – in a spell of absolutely brilliant play – Rhys Williams intercepted the ball on London’s line, evaded all of Oldham’s would-be defenders, and raced the length of the field to score.
Sammut’s kick was wide, leaving the Broncos with only a two point lead.
Two minutes later when the home side opted to kick yet another penalty from under the sticks, a draw seemed the likely outcome.
Miraculously, Hewitt’s kick hit the posts, allowing a scrappy win and another two points for the Broncos.
Head coach, Andrew Henderson, wasn’t particularly pleased with his side’s performance: “I don’t think we deserved to win the game, I think we got out of jail.
“We were extremely lucky to get a result today. The opposition had a lot more energy, intent and enthusiasm, I thought they played smarter, they played the conditions better, and they were prepared to keep working and keep grinding and grinding. I certainly can feel coach Naylor’s pain, he’ll feel aggrieved that they didn’t get something out of the game.
“Very ordinary performance from the London Broncos today, but very pleased to get the two points and keep us on course for what we want to achieve.”
Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Ben Hellewell, Adrian Purtell, Kieran Dixon, Jarrod Sammut, Will Barthau, Mark Offerdahl, Andy Ackers, Mark Ioane, Daniel Harrison, Jay Pitts, Matt Davis
Interchange: Matt Garside, Matt Gee, Ben Evans, Junior Roqica
Tries: Sammut (8), Ackers (29), Harrison (66), Williams (76)
Goals: Sammut 2/4
Scott Turner, Adam Clay, Sam Wood, Danny Grimshaw, Kieran Gill, Scott Leatherbarrow, David Hewitt, Phil Joy, Gareth Owen, Adam Neal, Jack Spencer, Danny Langtree, Michael Ward
Interchange: Kenny Hughes, Sam Gee, Joe Burke, Tyler Dickinson
Tries: Wood (1, 23),
Goals: Leatherbarrow 3/3, Hewitt 2/3