London Broncos made it through to the fifth round of the Challenge Cup on Sunday 18th March, for the first time since 2013, even after a spirited Workington Town produced a good display to push the Championship leaders.
Danny Ward’s side made the eight hour journey north to take on Leon Pryce’s Workington Town in the fourth round while looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
The Broncos build up to the game did not start in the best of circumstances, however, with loose forward Matt Davis and scrum half Jarrod Sammut pulling out through injury. James Meadows and debutant, Daniel Hindmarsh, both came in to replace the first choice pair with Jacob Ogden also making his first team debut.
Both teams came out firing and were probably thankful that the snow covering the rest of the country had not managed to reach that part of Cumbria . London pushed on and were encamped on the Workington Town line but the home defence soaked up the pressure well, holding out James Cunningham on the last tackle.
But the Broncos kept going forwards in the next set and only a last gasp tackle from Scholey stopped James Meadows as he looked to dart over the line from close range.
On the next opportunity they made the most of it when Will Lovell scythed through the opposition defence before drawing them back in and feeding Api Pewhairangi, who raced through to touch down, with Kieran Dixon converting.
Two minutes later, Broncos had extended their lead when James Cunningham darted through a gap and passed to the supporting Rhys Williams, the winger racing over to make it 10-0 with the conversion going wide.
Workington Town kept plugging and eventually they got their reward when Jamie Doran gave a short ball to Perry Singleton and he dived over and stretched out his arm to score. Jamie Foster added the conversion from wide out and the hosts were back in the game.
London gave away a penalty in the tackle on 39 minutes and Foster fancied his chances from 40-metres out and slotted it between the uprights to bring Workington to within two points. The Broncos forced the hosts onto the back foot where they had to put in a tough defensive stint but they held out, with debutant Dan Hindmarsh held up inches short on the last tackle and the score stayed at 8-10 at half time.
The visitors had clearly had a strong chat at halftime as they came out fired up and as a kick on the last looked to be going dead James Meadows hooked it backwards and Tom Spencer was quickest to react and touch down under the posts with Dixon adding the extras.
Workington Town however refused to lie down again as they ran hard at the line and the ball was swung quickly out to the left wing where Forrester touched down but the ref pulled the score back for a forward pass .
Workington Town’s hard work to get back into the game was blown away on 61 minutes as Rhys Williams broke through the defence and ran 90 metres right down the field to score his second of the day, with Dixon again converting.
An individual effort from Jamie Doran saw him go wide and spot the gap before racing through to touch down under the sticks, with Foster quickly tagging on the extras as they closed in.
The final few minutes were at full pace with Workington Town being repelled despite throwing everything at the London side.
The last word went to the hosts as Doran raced 60-metres, off of an interception, to touch down under the posts, as the final hooter sounded.
Foster converted and the Broncos held onto their unbeaten start to the season in all competitions by 20 points to 22.
Head Coach Danny Ward said after the game, “Obviously It’s good to get the win, that’s what matters in the cup. A disappointing performance overall. We scored a couple of early tries and felt we took our foot off the gas. We weren’t clinical enough with the ball & lacked our usual strike. Two debuts for academy products, which is great, and the we finished the game with a lot of young fellas on the field which is great for their development. Butler and Spencer were great up front for us and put in really good shifts.”
The Championship Leaders now move on to another away game at Swinton Lions on March 25th.