London Skolars 24 Oldham 44

Date published: Monday, August 5, 2013

IS the pressure beginning to tell on North Wales Crusaders ? While Roughyeds were winning 44-24 against London Skolars at the New River Stadium, Crusaders needed a late try and goal to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at lowly Gateshead Thunder.

For a few brief minutes at the end of our game in London the rumour was that Crusaders had lost — a result which, if true, would have put our destiny in our own hands in terms of winning the league outright and earning promotion automatically.

In the event it wasn’t to be, Crusaders scraping home unconvincingly 24-20 with a converted try five minutes from the end.

The situation at the top remains unchanged, therefore, with Roughyeds in pole position with five more points than second-placed Crusaders, who have two games in hand.

Still to play:

Oldham — Gloucester All Golds (at Whitebank this Sunday, August 11, 3pm kick off); Rochdale Hornets away (at Spotland on Thursday week, August 15, 7pm kick off, televised live by Premier Sports).

NWC — Hemel Stags (home), Oxford (home), London Skolars (away, on the Friday night before Wembley), South Wales (home).

If we win both our games and Crusaders lose one of theirs, the title is ours and, with it, promotion to the Championship.

For our part we have to make sure we don’t slip up, so there is plenty of reason for our fans to turn up in force again on Sunday when Gloucester are visiting Whitebank for the first time.

Our win at Skolars was our seventh in a row so come along on Sunday and hopefully cheer us on to another win which will keep up the pressure on the men from North Wales, who are clearly feeling it.

The first thing they would have done when returning to the dressing room at Gateshead was to look how we had gone on down in the capital

They would have seen that we won by seven tries to four with Richard Lepori recording a hat-trick and other tries coming from Lewis Palfrey, Matthew Haggarty, Dale Bloomfield and Adam Files.

Lewis landed eight goals from nine attempts.

We raced into an 18-0 lead inside 23 minutes, but by half-time a lively Skolars side had pegged us back to 20-12.

We kept on scoring in the second half, but so did the home side and we couldn’t shake them off.

We went 30-12 in front before Skolars worked their way back to 24-30, at which point ‘Lippy’ (Lepori) completed his hat-trick to spark an Oldham points rushj of 14 points in the last 12 minutes.

Skolars: Anthony; Paxton, Hurst, Price, Raynor; McLean, Skee; Purslow,  Bishay,Williams, Wellings, Worrincy, Wray. Subs: Dollapi, Smith,  Robinson, Sykes.

Oldham: Lepori; Agoro, Ford,Crowley, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Hughes; Haggarty, Gee, Joy, Hobson, Langtree, Ward. Subs: Files, Boults, Gilchrist, Thompson.

Referee: P Brook; Attendance: 563.