The London Broncos ended the regular season in sensational style on Sunday afternoon, thrashing Batley Bulldogs 58-4 in a ten try extravaganza.
Elliot Kear secured himself a hat trick, and Man of the Match, Api Pewhairangi, and Rhys Williams both left the park with a brace to their names.
London Bronco #615, Sam Wilde, was strong on debut, and London’s welsh contingent, Kear, Williams and Channing (all named in the initial 38 man Rugby League World Cup squad earlier in the week), scored six tries between them.
Flying Welsh winger, Kear, got the home side off to a strong start, stepping inside his opposite number to speed over the line. Sammut, in true Sammut style, nailed the kick.
Nearly 20 minutes lapsed before either the Broncos added another – both sides exchanging sets – London were forced to heavily defend their goal line, but repeated attempts from the visitors to barge over were firmly rejected.
A powerful Brambani kick downfield gained the Bulldogs some much needed territory, however Bretherton coughed up possession mere metres from the line. The hosts capitalised on the resulting scrum; Channing broke Batley’s line, and with Bulldogs clinging to him, somehow managed to touch the ball down.
Kear notched up his brace on 33 minutes – Channing made the initial break to get deep into Batley territory, before skilled footwork from his Welsh teammate got him over the whitewash.
At the break, London went into the sheds with an 18-0 lead, having impressively kept the the Bulldogs scoreless.
On the resumption, Batley knocked on from the re-start and London were awarded a scrum, which result in Pewhairangi crossing after only a minute of play. Sammut duly added the extras.
London added another 10 points inside the next seven minutes – Kear, in typical style, sped over the line to secure his hat trick, and some clever footwork from Rhys Williams saw him dance over a mere three minutes after. Sammut added one from two.
With the final half came five additional tries, the visitors managing only one. Brown’s consolation try came on 57 minutes, but wasn’t converted.
Roqica, Pewhairangi, Williams and Davis, with the help of Sammut, added an extra 28 points before the final hooter sounded, recording a comprehensive 58-4 victory, and ensuring London lost only one regular league game at Trailfinders in 2017.
London boss, Andrew Henderson, conceded that there were some issues from the game which would need addressing ahead of the Super 8s, but overall, was pleased with his side’s efforts.
“I didn’t think we were as polished as normal with the ball in the first half. We didn’t end our sets well enough on our terms, and our completion was a little bit out.
“I still thought we scored some great tries. Three tries in the first half saw us 18-0 up, which is a decent advantage. We had to absorb a lot of effort on goal line – we had to handle a lot of threats coming at us, and many waves of Batley attack.
“We saw a big improvement on that in the second half. We scored some really, really good, creative tries. It was a pretty comprehensive performance from us overall.
“As coaches we’re always a little bit critical and trying to find ways we can improve, but I think it was a nice way to end the season at home in the Championship.”
24. Alex Walker, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 20. Michael Channing, 1. Elliot Kear, 19. Api Pewhairangi, 6. Jarrod Sammut, 8. Tom Spencer. 14. Andy Ackers, 16. Junior Roqica, 11. Daniel Harrison, 13. Jay Pitts, 22. Matt Davis
Interchange: 34. John Boudebza, 36. Sam Wilde, 10. Mark Ioane, 15. Eddie Battye
Tries: Kear (4, 33, 45), Channing (22), Pewhairangi (41, 66), Williams (48, 70), Roqica (53), Davis (75)
Goals: Sammut 9/10
1. David Scott, 2. Wayne Reittie, 15. Daniel Cowling, 30. Jason Crookes, 5. Shaun Ainscough, 6. Cain Southerwood, 7. Dominic Brambani, 10. Alex Rowe, 9. Alistair Leak, 21. James Brown, 19. Alex Bretherton, 12. Joel Farrell, 13. Patrick Walker
Interchange: 14. James Davey, 17. Joseph Chandler, 18. James Harrison, 23, Bradley Hill
Tries: Brown (57)
Goals: Southerwood 0/1
Referee: N. Bennett