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Wednesday May 3rd 2006 < Back Print Page
Lionhearts Win In Serbia

Serbia 6 England Lionhearts 46

Report written by Neil Farrell


First test at Radnički Stadium, Belgrade


 


The loss of vice captain Scott Pendlebury and prop forward Chris Gardner due to injury disrupted the Lionhearts’ preparations, but they still proved far too strong against a gallant Serbian side, using this first test as a development match in preparation for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.


The heavens opened as the teams lined for the national anthems, and the heavy rain continued for the duration of the game, resulting in extremely greasy conditions and a high error rate. England started the game strongly and forced a drop out on the first set of the game. From the restart, half backs Paul Lord and Paul Drake combined to move the ball wide to the left and centre Karl Wesley stepped his opposite to race over. Drake missed the conversion, on a disappointing afternoon for the normally dead-eyed marksman.


Serbia almost hit back immediately when their most impressive player stand off Dalibor Vukanović stabbed the ball through for centre David Milanović to touch down, but he was adjudged to be offside. They enjoyed their best period of the game and took the lead when prop forward Soni Radovanović powered over close to the posts. Vukanović added the extras, The Serbs were in the ascendancy at this stage and could have increased their lead, but they couldn’t convert chances on the back of strong breaks from the powerful centre Milan Djordjević. They were made to pay for their misses, and after conceding a penalty on the last tackle, hooker Graham Harrison took the tap, ran to the line and handed on to impressive, prop forward Dan Reeds who crashed over for the first of his three tries. Drake converted the score, and then scooted over himself for the first of his hat trick on the back of a quick play the ball from centre Marc Hirst.


The second half was dominated by the visitors, whose superior fitness came to the fore. The Lionhearts made a number of personnel changes at half time and two of them contributed to the first score of the second period. First Tom Sibley dislodged the ball from Serb hands with a massive hit, and from the resulting scrum Shaun Flynn, playing fullback, broke the line and won the resulting 60 metre foot race for a great score. Drake then showed his class, collecting his own chip over the defensive line to race over. Serbia continued to compete well without reward, but England stepped up the pace in the final quarter adding four unanswered scores. First Reeds got his second from short range off a Lord offload, Flynn followed up a Drake grubber to complete his brace, Drake repeated his chip and chase special with the assistance of Richard Whitehouse, and then Reeds grabbed his third and England’s final score to round off a satisfactory performance in very difficult conditions.


 


Teams


Serbia


1. Ivan Šušnjara

2. Dimitris Dajč

3. David Milanović

4. Milan Djordjević

5. Haris Dajč

6. Dalibor Vukanović

7. Mate Granić

8. Soni Radovanović

9. Ivan Antić

10. Igor Minevski

11. Nemanja Babić

12. Vukašin Popović

13. Marko Zebeljan ©

Replacements (all used)

14. James Vukmirović

15. Mario Milosavljević

16. Miloš Kucančanin

17. Radovan Valčić

18. Igor Kesegi

19. Milan Šušnjara

20. Zoran Pešić

21. Nemanja Popšogorović

22. Ivan Mitić

23. Marko Dulović

Tries: Radovanović (13)

Goals: Vukanovic (1 from 1)



England Lionhearts


1. Richard Whitehouse (Telford Raiders)

2.
Craig Tyman (Bradford Dudley Hill)

3.
Karl Wesley (Leicester Phoenix)

4.
Marc Hirst (Huddersfield Underbank Rangers)

5.
Ollie Bloom (Gloucestershire Warriors)

6.
Paul Drake (Bramley Buffaloes)

7.
Paul Lord (Blackpool Sea Eagles) ©

8. Ant Wraith (Bolton le Moors)

9.
Graham Harrison (Bramley Buffaloes)

10.
Dan Reeds (Lincoln City Knights)

11.
Dan King (Kent Ravens)

12.
Matt Taylor (Warrington Wizards)

13.
Andy Addison (Warrington Wizards)

Replacements (all used)

14.
Jack Moon (Hemel Stags)

15.
Andy Lake ( Luton Vipers)

16.
Shaun Flynn (Bramley Buffaloes)

17.
Michael Sykes (St Ives Roosters)

18.
Tom Sibley ( Blackpool Sea Eagles)


Tries: Wesley (3), Reeds (16, 65, 78), Drake (31, 52, 72), Flynn (47, 70)

Goals: Drake (5 from 9)


Half-time - 6-16


Men of the Match


Serbia - Dalibor Vukanović

Lionhearts - Paul Drake


Referee - Nick Evans ( England)


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