Skolars edge past Crusaders in thriller

The latest news from the local rugby league scene (pic: Mike Egerton/PA)

The latest news from the local rugby league scene (pic: Mike Egerton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Betfred League One: London Skolars 19 North Wales Crusaders 18

London Skolars moved joint-top of Betfred League One with a thrilling 19-18 success at home to North Wales Crusaders.

Crusaders' Ben Stead kicked an early penalty and kicked two further penalty goals in the first half, when his side might have chosen to push their territorial advantage home.

North Wales' only try of the half came when Skolars failed to defend a cross-field kick by Stead, Steven Roper taking advantage to touchdown.

London finally got onto the scoreboard in the final minute of the half, moving the ball out to the left from a scrum in Crusaders' half.

Joe Brown cut through to score, notching a club record in their professional era for scoring tries in six consecutive games.

The second half saw North Wales again dominate the early stages, but Skolars' strong defence stopped them from turning pressure into points.

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Brad Brennan and Kenny Baker were both held-up over the line in the same set, but when the ball got to Roper on the last tackle there were no runners ready for him to pass to and he was caught with the ball.

Their next attack saw Lameck Juma hoof the ball dead, but after the drop-out, Simon Atherton lost the ball as he tried to ground it.

From a scrum on their own ten metre line, Skolars got the ball to the right and Omari Caro and Iliess Macani flew down the wing, before the latter cut inside to score, with Thorman's conversion levelling the scores.

Crusaders regained the lead when Warren Thompson and Atheton both flicked the ball back to Lewis Fairhurst whose dummy opened the defence wide part for him to stride through to score, Stead kicking his fifth goal of the afternoon.

North Wales were dragged into touch on the first tackle ten metres from their line, then failed to get to high kick from Craig Mullen and Lamont Bryan was the grateful recipient, James Barran converting with Thorman off the field.

Three minutes later, Mullen kicked a drop-goal from the right of the posts which proved to be the winning score in a memorable game for London.