Whitehaven 16 London Skolars 14: Skolars exit Challenge Cup after missing last-gasp penalty kick

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 February 2018

The latest rugby league news (pic: Mike Egerton/PA)

The latest rugby league news (pic: Mike Egerton/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup third round: Whitehaven 16 London Skolars 14

London Skolars were knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup after a narrow 16-14 defeat at Betfred League One rivals Whitehaven in the third round.

Skolars had a chance to take the game into extra time after the final hooter, but Sam Nash had a difficult kick from the halfway line, which drifted to the left of the posts.

Two early penalties saw Skolars have to withstand early pressure, but they were the first to score when Jake Melling ran onto Mike Bishay’s grubber kick for an unconverted try.

Haven then had a sustained period of pressure, twice forcing goal-line drop-outs, but twice the visitors held Haven up over the tryline.

Eventually Ellis Gillam took a crash ball to score for the Cumbrians, but the conversion was missed.

London won the ball from the kick-off, but lost possession count and then had to defend again.

Dion Aiye made a break, but lost control of the ball as he attempted to pass, leaving the score at 4-4 at half-time.

Skolars regained the lead four minutes after the break when Bishay again kicked to the left and Melling timed his run to perfection to cross for another unconverted try.

Lameck Juna then forced Chris Taylor into touch to deny a try for Whitehaven, but the visitors were then dealt a blow when Bishay went off with a ruptured bicep.

It took a loose pass by Haven to force an error in the London defence, with Taylor finding a gap on the right wing, before Dan Abrah finished the move off.

Brad Billsborough took over the kicking duties successfully and did so again four minutes later when James Tilley forced his way over from dummy half.

London narrowed the gap when Billy Driver split the defence to touchdown after a Lamont Bryan run, with Phil Lyon converting to make it a two-point game.

The home defence held firm until the penalty in the final seconds of the game which was missed, leaving Skolars to reflect on what might have been on the long trip home.

London return to action in the league on Saturday when they visit former world champions Bradford Bulls.

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