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Great Britain Community Lions went down to a 20-33 defeat against France A in an entertaining game at Rochdale Mayfield ARLFC.
The visitors got off to the best possible start with lively hooker Mathias Garrabe crossing twice within four minutes and despite a brave fightback by Great Britain, France finished the game the stronger.
France certainly had the best of the opening exchanges and their effort was almost rewarded further on 15 minutes when winger Jeremy Guiraud raced over in the corner after a 40 metre passing move, only to be called back for a forward pass.
Great Britain eventually settled and got themselves back into the game courtesy of a try from Gary Keegan, who burst on to a short ball from Danny Kilshaw. The score was improved by Lee Innes and the hosts were back in the game.
The Lions were now dominate and a further two points from the boot of Innes was followed by an individual effort from Kilshaw as he danced his way over from 20 metres out edging Great Britain 14-10 in front at the break.
The second period started in much the same fashion as Great Britain further increased their lead as the impressive Liam Walsh supplied a perfect short pass for centre Shaun Wildbore to crash over.
However, from then on that was as good as it got for the Lions. France hit back on 50 minutes when a flowing passing move ended with Nicholas Athiel squeezing in at the corner and just seven minutes later the scores were level as he was followed over by prop Sebastien Martin.
Despite a valiant effort from Liam Walsh, full back Lee Innes and hard working forwards Gary Keegan and Mel Alker, the tide had turned in favour of the French.
As the game entered the final quarter a set move from a 20 metre scrum ended with centre Cyril Stacul reasserting the visitors authority and as the game entered the last five minutes a well taken field goal from Constant Villagas meant the Lions were two scores behind.
France further emphasised their second half superiority with the last try from Julien Touxagas.
Great Britain Community Lions 1. Lee Innes (Army) 2. Chris Dunhill (Oulton Raiders) 3. Sean Wildbore (Skirlaugh) 4. Andy Moody (Skirlaugh) 5. Frazer Coley (Saddleworth Rangers) 6. Danny Kilshaw (Leigh East) 7. Liam Walsh (Siddal) 8. Steven Atkinson (Skirlaugh) 9. Anthony Atherton (Wigan St Patricks) 10. Adam Endersby (Eastmoor) 11. Sasch Brook (Oulton Raiders) 12. Gary Keegan (England Lionhearts) 13. Mel Alker (Wigan St Patricks) Subs 14. Jimmy Giblin (GB Students) 15. Carl Redford (Leigh East) 16. Andy Forber (Wigan St Patricks) 17. David Ashton (Ince Rose Bridge)
France A 1. Bastien Almarcha (Carcassonne) 2. Jeremy Guiraud (Carcassonne) 3. Georges Lankri (Lyon-Villeurbanne) 4. Cyril Stacul (Villeneuve) 5. Nicolas Athiel (Pia) 6. Constant Villagas (Toulouse) 7. William Pailles 8. Julien Touxagas (UTC) 9. Mathias Garrabe (Pia) 10. Sebastian Martin (Pia) 11. David Delpoux (Toulouse) 12. Sebastian Martin (Pia) 13. Mathieu Almarcha (Toulouse) Subs 14. Nicholas Faure (Toulouse) 15. Charly Clottes (Lezignan) 16. Maxime Pradal (Pia) 17. Kane Bentley (UTC)
GB 20 T: Keegan (17), Kilshaw (38 ), Wildbore (45) G: Innes (4)
France A 33 T: Garrabe (1, 4), Athiel (50), Martin (57), Stacul (66), Touxagas (79) G: Pailles (4) FG: Villagas
Half Time: 14-10
Men of the Match: Liam Walsh (GB) - Bastien Almarcha (France)
Referee: Paul Marklove