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Whilst coach Tony Rea rested a number of players ahead of the start of Super League next week, it was the wise heads and goal-kicking ability of their more experienced players that helped them win the inaugural Metro Challenge Shield.
Mitch Stringer kicked two conversions from two attempts, including a difficult touchline effort. Then with the scores level with a minute remaining, Broncos took the ball upfield for Zebastian Luisi to coolly slot over a drop goal from 25 metres out to take the first all-London professional derby in 69 years.
Broncos had taken a comfortable 12-0 lead early on in the game, courtesy of their youngsters. Hooker John Sullivan slipped over from dummy half after ten minutes, before Louis Mc-Carthy Scarisbrick opened up a gap out wide to allow former Skolars? junior Ade Adebisi to score in the corner. Skolars pulled the deficit back in the last minutes with two tries. Austen Aggrey forced his way through to the line on the right side, with Dean Callis converting. Callis then made a break, which Gareth Honor continued, allowing the supporting Aggrey to pull away for his second try, to narrow the scoreline to 10-12 at half-time.
Skolars' Nathan Meischke, guesting for the opposition, went close for the Broncos soon after the break, but it was a superb run from Lee Greenwood, collecting the ball from deep in his own half before eluding the approaching defence who raced 80 metres to score what turned out to be a decisive try five minutes into the second half. With Stringer off-field, youngster Jamie Boston was successful with his conversion.
Skolars responded with two unconverted tries, Tim Gee touched down on the hour, before Ade Aderiye managed to stretch through the Bronco?s tacklers to score in the corner, to set up a tense last 10 minutes. With Stringer and the impressive McCarthy-Scarisbrick gaining good yards with each run, even with so many non-first teamers in the side, it was always likely to be the Broncos that would score the decisive points at the death. However, Bronco?s celebrations were somewhat muted as Francis Stephenson was carried off at the end of the game and awaits a scan for potential ligament damage.
Skolars had the consolation of seeing Austen Aggrey take the man-of-the-match award and a ground and Skolars record crowd of 958 will have ensured a good collection for the match?s nominated charity, Haven House Children?s Hospice in Woodford Green.
In the preceding game, it was South London Storm who moved into the second round of the Powergen Challenge Cup, beating West London Sharks 24-20. Winger Gavin Calloo brought Souths back into the game, before two late penalties for Louis Neethling proved decisive.