London Skolars 42 Hemel Hempstead Stags 22: Skolars on verge of qualifying for Shield final
- Credit: Archant
Kingstone Press League One Shield: London Skolars 42 Hemel Hempstead Stags 22
London Skolars extended their winning run in Kingstone Press League One Shield to seven games with a 42-22 victory over local rivals Hemel Hempstead Stags.
Skolars now need just one point from their remaining two games to reach the Shield final.
Despite the final score, it was Stags who scored the first try when Mark Barlow strode over to score.
A Hemel error from the restart was punished when Skolars player Josh Allison stretched out to touchdown.
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But Stags soon regained the lead when Matt Welham came into the line on the left to force his way over in the corner.
Following their early setback, London dominated for the next 40 minutes, starting with Ryan Chester crashing through the middle of the defence for a try.
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Ben Pointer then caught Hemel napping after a strong run by Eddie Mbaraga to extend the hosts’ advantage.
Stuck behind their own 40-metre line on the sixth tackle, Skolars’ Charlie Lawrence floated a long pass to Jy-Mel Coleman who looked to be kick.
Instead, Coleman slipped the ball to Mbaraga with Smokie Junor finishing off the move two minutes before the break.
London moved further clear when Jacob Ogden slipped past the defence on the left, with Dave Williams repeating the trick soon after.
When Michael Brown ran onto a Mike Bishay kick soon afterwards, it looked set to be a long day for Hemel.
However, a juggled interception from former Skolar Marcus Elliott saw him race 70 metres to score and raise Stags’ spirits.
The new found confidence for the visitors soon led to James Thornton scoring on the left on their next trip into the Skolars’ half.
Allison was carried off soon after with what looked like a serious shoulder injury and London were getting nervous when Alex Williams picked up a loose ball after they failed to defuse a high kick to the right.
However, London gained possession with a short kick-off that went into touch and Bishay rounded things off at the end.
Skolars host the All Golds on Saturday.