Rugby League: London Skolars beat Hemel Stags to earn first Betfred League One win of the season
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Betfred League One: Hemel Stags 12 London Skolars 18
London Skolars won for the first time in Betfred League One this season in the Good Friday derby at Hemel Stags, triumphing 18-12 on the road.
In the cold, muddy conditions at Pennine Way, ball handling was difficult for both sides.
Stags opened the scoring on the quarter hour when Jordan Fitzpatrick-Barry ran onto a quick to the left corner to score, with Brad Hunter adding the conversion.
Skolars enjoyed a good period of possession after Jy-Mel Coleman re-gathered the ball from his own kick after a fumble by Hemel.
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London forced a goal-line drop-out and then Coleman forced his way over the tryline, with Neil Thorman’s conversion levelling the scores.
Sam Nash was held up over the line, but with the rain lashing down, it was clear it would be a low scoring game and Skolars twice elected to kick penalties to give them a 10-6 lead at the break.
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Thorman kicked his third penalty of the afternoon early in the second half.
London finally took a decisive lead when Eddie Mbaraga pushed his way through the defence on the right flank, with Thorman adding his fith goal of the afternoon.
Hemel’s chances of a comeback were dealt a blow when Chris Heil was sin-binned for disputing a penalty given against his side.
Heil had just returned to the field when Stags forced a goal-line drop-out, after which Jonathan Burns slipped over to narrow Skolars’ lead with two minutes remaining.
The visitors kicked deep at the restart and Hemel were never going to be able to run the length of the field before the final hooter sounded.
London are at home this Saturday, taking on new club West Wales Raiders at New River, when they hope they can pick up their first home league success this term.