|This week....Results and match reports from South London.... news of the visit of a familiar face to North London
Saturday saw no fewer than five games over the day as the South London youth sides took on Cardiff Demons at U13, U14 and U15/16 ages. Later in afternoon, the open age sides took North London Skolars in a double header of London League and Rugby League Conference fixtures.
Thankfully the opposition turned up on time, the barbeque lit, the sun shone and a good time was had by all, in this festival day of open running rugby!
South London youth sides will be represented by no fewer than 19 players on regional and talent camps at Bisham Abbey and Dulwich College this summer, which is no mean achievement given the limited amount of time some of them have been playing.
These were the last Junior games of the season for most age groups
U13s: South London 0 Cardiff Demons 42
After putting 40 points past West London the previous week, the U13s had already decided they were on holiday! To be fair the Welsh defence was outstanding, and try as they might, the South Londoners just could not open up their defensive line, in spite of getting close to scoring on several occasions. In the end, Cardiff’s hard-working pack managed to control the ball well, and the speed of the ball in the rucks was just too quick for a tired-looking South London pack. Out on the flanks, Souths always looked dangerous but never got the completion rate they needed to get the ball over the line. Captain Sam Curtis commented "We’ll be back, there’s always next season!"
Game Star: Mathew Watson (for his great defence)
Game Breaker: Aaron Browne (for running circles around the Welsh pack)
U14s: South London 34 Cardiff Demons 34
The lead changed hands several times in a keenly-contested and passionate game, played at an awesome pace for their tender years, with adventurous sweeping moves from both sides producing some great open rugby. Prop Adam Janowski was on great form for the Souths defence, but it was Sam Moore, playing out of his usual position at hooker, who really relished the game, putting in a top number of tackles and supplying quality balls from every ruck.
Two early scores gave Cardiff the start they wanted but were immediately followed by Souths’ full back, Dave Twinn, retaliating with a tremendous try down the right flank, quickly followed by a well worked try on the opposite flank by left wing Joe Vass. From then on it was tight as both sides went head to head, the Cardiff side equalling everything the South Londoners could throw at them with the lead changing hands several times. Two scores from Cardiff late in the second half gave the Welshmen the advantage and South London knew they would have to work hard to stay in the game.
With 1 minute remaining, Souths turned their possession into good field position following some great second phase ball from centres Lamont Byrant and Kane O’Connor. The final move saw stand off Tom Bold link with a wonderfully timed inside ball to prop Ryan Forbes who broke the scrambling Cardiff defence to touch down. At 32 - 34, Bold’s final kick of the game, just 12 metres in from touch, was a cliff hanger. Not having had a good day with the boot it was touch and go if the stand off would get the kick, but he struck the ball sweetly to seal the game and a fitting end to the U14s season.
Game Star: Sam Moore (for a winger he made a tremendous impact at hooker)
Game Breakers: Ryan Forbes and Tom Bold (for the late try and conversion that got Souths the draw)
U15/16s: South London 24 Cardiff Demons 48
This was a game of two very different halves. Souths U16s have struggled a bit to find some consistency since the exam period started, never having the same 13 playing together at any one time and having 3 players (Liam Burton, Dave Montero and Iain Lane) playing on the same day for the London Broncos
Academy side against Huddersfield.
A tremendous start by Cardiff with some early raids on the South London line and a very strong Welsh pack meant Souths had to work hard to get out of their own 40 metres in the first quarter. But gradually Souths began to turn the game around with some good, strong running from forwards Pete Harlow and Chris Carter, and finished the first half strongly, combining quality first-up defending and some great attacking play, scoring two tries down the flanks.
The second half saw South London really step up their game in the third quarter, with tries to Chris Carter, Ankur Amin and Philip Salloy. Top defending from regulars Jason Murphy and Keemar Anwer pushed the Welsh all the way, with good solid kicking from Isaac Mukumbi at stand off forcing a final Cardiff drop out under the posts. While it was never going to be enough to claim a victory, it was a good second half performance and one which will take them well into their last game at Crawley in two weeks time.
Game Star: Pete Harlow (strong running and defence all game)
Game Breaker: Ankur Amin (whose superb try really lifted the South Londoners’ game in the final quarter)
The day was notable for the impressive fact that South London Storm became the first ever southern Rugby League team to field five teams on one day. In addition, four Storm youngsters: Nick Bayford, Liam Burton, Iain Lane and Dave Montero played for the London Broncos Academy team in their narrow defeat to Huddersfield Giants.
North London welcome back an old friend
The London Skolars welcome Jason Kenneally back to the capital. Jason was a key member for London Skolars and instrumental in developing youth development in the city before becoming Head of PE at Matthew Murray High School in Leeds. Jason has gone on to become a senior coach, and has impressed with his coaching of the Leeds U14 Service Area and also being involved in the Yorkshire Active Sports Talent Camps.
This weekend Jason brings his U14 school team to London to challenge another team who have developed immensely this year, thanks to the commitment of another Skolars Teacher. Stuart Hogg has brought out the best of the children from Redden Court High School in Havering. They have competed in a 5 match City vs Country State of Origin Series, and many have gone on to strengthen the much-improved North London Sevice Area Squad. Stuart commented: "The commitment and enthusiasm that has been shown by the kids is unbelieveable. To see 5 boys make the Regional camp and 3 boys and 4 girls participate in the forthcoming London Active Sports Talent Camp just shows the talent that lies within the school."
Matthew Murray will play Redden Court on Saturday morning before taking in an open top bus trip of the city, then scooting down to Brentford to see London Broncos hopefully grab 2 points against the Castleford Tigers in Super League. On Sunday they will then test their wits against the London Skolars U14s youth team before travelling back to Leeds. The Skolars side will contain many players from the North London Service Area representative side, eight of whom have been selected for the forthcoming Regional Camps to take place in July.
London Rugby League Development Media Coordinator
020 8455 4842