All Golds Educate Skolars
Artical written by: James Gray | Photos: Lewis Mitchell
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds returned from the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, London with an outstanding victory over the London Skolars 24 – 34 in rugby league’s Kingstone Press Championship One.
With new head coach Steve McCormack in charge, the University of Gloucestershire All Golds began with a great first half performance away at the London Skolars.
It took only two minutes for debutant and local Gloucester boy Daniel Spencer-Tonks to score in the corner and get the Scotland bosses new side up and running. Some fantastic following passes shifted the ball left and a clever inside ball from Sam Te’o to Spencer-Tonks, set up the games first try. Aidan Jenkins missed the conversion.
However, in an explosive start their lead wouldn’t last long. A careless knock-on after the restart, gave Skolars a great position to attack and force a reply. The try didn’t come immediately, but after a string of good efforts, Dennis Tuffour’s final push forced him and the ball over the try line, and with Sam Druce’s conversion, gave the home side the lead.
Many would’ve expected things to settle down after two quick scores but again only three minutes from the Skolars grabbing the advantage, Jenkins scored a great try. A lovely interchange between Danny Fallon, Danny Thomas and Brendan Smith, created a widening gap down the right side and after Jenkins received the ball, with his feet nearly on the chalk, he soon ran clear to score in the corner. This time Fallon missed the extras.
Both teams flirted with scoring again but the final ball seemed to always go astray. However, there was nothing offline about Martyn Smith’s scoot through a gap in the All Golds defence; the half back beat off the late challenge to score under the posts and regain the London side’s lead.
The game had already highlighted the twists and turns of rugby league, and Jason Muranka’s try emphasised the constant change in momentum. His powerful run held off all challengers, dragging the defenders with him over the line and reaching out to score in the corner.
Muranka’s try had an element of momentum about it, trying to ensure the All Golds went into half time with the lead. It was confirmed when debutant Casey Canterbury, used the great arts of skill and luck to grab his first try for the club. His grubber kick deflected off the defence and sat up nicely for him to run close to the posts and give the Gloucestershire side a 12-18 advantage at the break.
It was a cracking effort to go in with the lead at half time, for the All Golds, in what was such an up and down affair. But the job certainly wasn’t complete for McCormack’s men, although he definitely would have felt more relieved to see Muranka again power over the try line. Just five minutes into the second half Muranka’s second score had finally given the All Golds breathing space and a justified lead in the game.
After that early score, the next 20 minutes of the second period was a tense affair with both teams understanding how crucial the next try was. The crowd were getting restless as the home side constantly pressurised the All Golds defence before falling just short, however this pressure was forcing the Gloucestershire side into mistakes. And finally after a string of continuous penalties against the visitors, the Skolars got their try and brought themselves right back into the fixture. Michael Worrincy showed real determination to force himself over the try line and his score gave the Skolars some initiative and hunger. Moments later it was James Woodburn-Hall’s weaving run that allowed him to avoid the tackles and comfortably touchdown past a tiring defence. With Mathew Bradley’s conversions it brought the home side back into the lead and with a real chance of winning the game.
With just eight minutes left on the clock and four points behind, the All Golds needed to find something and luckily for the travellers they did. A penalty against the London side just invited pressure, and after going close twice to scoring, the All Golds eventually gave that last push to score, when Izaak Duffy took the ball at pace after a great pass from Craig Cook at dummy half and took his side into a 24-28 lead.
Duffy’s try had left the game on a knife edge, as both teams were throwing everything to avoid defeat. The scene was set for something amazing to happen and it came emphatically. London looked all but sure to score and win the game, but a careless knock on gave the loose ball to Jenkins on the wing. He smartly offloaded inside to Brendan ‘Dingo’ Smith who shaped a clear 80 metres path for Canterbury to mark a unbelievable debut for himself and new boss Steve McCormack, as the All Golds won 24-34 in a epic encounter.
Head Coach Steve McCormack:
“I’m delighted we’ve got a win, probably disappointed it didn’t come sooner in the game.I thought we were dominant from the first second to the last second.
“The effort that every single one of those players has put in was outstanding. I’ve got a bunch of lads that will work their socks off for each other, and that was outstanding.”
Double try scoring debutant, Casey Canterbury:
“There’s no better feeling than scoring a winning try, or scoring any try for your club. I loved every minute of it out there today, it was awesome.
“There’s passionate lads playing down here at Gloucester, they all came together and played hard; they all worked hard for one another and in the end that’s what brought us through to win.”
Man of the Match:
SKOLARS: 1 Dennis Tuffour; 20 Judd Greenhalgh, 3 John Paxton, 31 Lamont Bryan, 5 Jamie O’Callaghan; 6 James Woodburn-Hall, 4 Sam Druce; 10 David Williams, 9 Martyn Smith, 21 Tely Pelo; 11 Mike Worrincy, 12 Will Lovell; 13 Olly Purslow. REPLACEMENTS: 8 Ryan MacDonald, 34 Erjon Dollapi, 14 Louis Robinson, 7 Matt Bradley.
Scorers: Tries; Dennis Tuffour (5), Martyn Smith (25), Michael Worrincy (57), James Woodburn-Hall (67), Goals; Sam Druce 2 from 2, Matt Bradley 2 from 2.
ALL GOLDS: 1 Phil Cowburn; 4 Aidan Jenkins, 2 Jarrod Ward, 11 Sam Te’o, 8 Dan Spencer-Tonks; 6 Danny Fallon, 7 Danny Thomas; 18 James Walter, 19 Craig Cook, 10 Izaak Duffy; 16 Jason Muranka, 12 Miles Fairbank; 13 Brendan Smith. REPLACEMENTS: 14 Joe McClean, 15 Harry Chapman-Walker, 17 Jack Francis, 5 Casey Canterbury.
Scorers: Tries; Dan Spencer-Tonks (2), Aidan Jenkins (8), Jason Muranka (28, 45), Casey Canterbury (35, 76), Izaak Duffy (72), Goals; Aidan Jenkins 3 from 6, Danny Fallon 0 from 1.
Referee: Jamie Bloem (RFL Appointment)
Touch Judges: T Mather, B Leze