London Broncos breezed home to a massive 40 point win over Rochdale Hornets on Sunday afternoon at Crown Oil Arena, defeating the Championship newcomers 18-58 in a milestone-filled afternoon.
Mark Ioane, who has recently signed on for an additional two years, played his 50th game for the London Broncos – a feat he has not yet achieved at another club, and London, despite a rocky start to the season, achieved the goal of a top two finish, securing four home games in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
The Broncos started as they intended to go on, with a superb joint effort between Ackers and Williams – the hooker offloaded to the Welsh winger, before an enormous run from Williams ended in a return offload to Ackers, who drove over the whitewash. Sammut added the two.
Rochdale’s McMullen knocked on on six minutes, allowing a London scrum. Pewhairangi wasted no time in taking his opportunity, getting a lovely pass to Sammut, who stepped inside former Bronco, Lewis Foster, to dart over the whitewash. Again, Sammut improved.
London added a third inside 15 minutes, when, again capitalising on a scrum, clever footwork from Pitts negotiated a gap in the Rochdale line, and Walker notched up the visitors’ third.
The home side added themselves to the score sheet nearing the end of the first quarter – the Hornets spread the ball wide on the right wing, and Ecclestone went over the whitewash. Yates, not a missing a kick all afternoon, added the extras.
London appeared to have a momentary loss of concentration, and Foster got one back over his old teammates – easily breaking London’s line to cross.
Four more tries would come before half time – a brace for Sammut, a brilliant effort from Matt Davis, a first for Massam, and a lovely Eddie Battye assist to put Bienek in. All four were converted, and London went into the sheds with a comprehensive 18-36 lead.
On the resumption, the Broncos kept Rochdale scoreless for the entire 40 minutes.
Williams opened London’s second half account, finding his gap on the left wing, and running 25 metres to bag his side an additional four pointer. Sammut’s kick uncharacteristically missed.
Ben Evans muscled his way over from close range with 18 minutes to go, before Ackers went over from dummy half eight minutes later to further extend the visitors’ lead.
Walker also bagged himself a break on 72 minutes, after a lovely effort between Pewhairangi and Harrison ended in his slipping around a defeated Rochdale defence.
Speaking post-match, Henderson, though proud of side achieving the goal set for themselves in 2017, was adamant the hard work does not stop now.
“Overall it was a solid performance from ourselves. With the ball we were very good and we made good metres coming out of yardage, though I was disappointed to concede 18 points in that first half.
“There are still some minor improvements and tweaks to be made, but on the whole I’m very pleased.
“Ultimately, we’re trying our best to get ourselves ready for what’s to come in the Super 8s Qualifiers. We’re on that path now. It’s been a really good team effort. Everybody across the board has done their job, and done it well.
“We had a blip a few weeks ago, & other than that, we’ve been very, very good. And that’s everybody involved this team and this squad.”
The Broncos end the regular season at home this Sunday, taking on Batley Bulldogs at Trailfinders. Tickets can be pre-purchased online here.
6. Declan Kay, 1. Kevin Penny, 3. Jake Eccleston, 4. Lewis Galbraith, 5. Robert Massam, 27. Lewis Foster, 7. Daniel Yates, 15. Jovilisi Taira, 9. Ben Moore, 17. Lee Mitchell, 11. Jono Smith, 25. Joshua Crowley, 20. Anthony Walker
Subs: 14. Ryan Maneely, 10. Gavin Bennion, 16. Matthew Hadden, 19. Jordan Case
Tries: Ecclestone (17), Foster (21), Massam (26)
Goals: Yates 3/3
24. Alex Walker, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 20. Michael Channing, 1. Elliot Kear, 19. Api Pewhairangi, 6. Jarrod Sammut, 18. Ben Evans, 14. Andy Ackers, 10. Mark Ioane, 11. Daniel Harrison, 13. Jay Pitts, 24. Matt Davis
Subs: 34. John Boudebza, 23. Matt Gee, 15. Eddie Battye, 31. Lewis Bienek
Tries: Ackers (2, 70), Sammut (7, 24), Walker (13, 72), Davis (29), Bienek (39), Williams (48), Evans (62)
Goals: Sammut 9/10