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Fundamental errors in crucial areas of the field cost the BARLA Great Britain Young Lions in this exciting encounter. The Young Lions were desperate to finish the Damart tour on a positive note, whilst the Central United players were well motivated for the game as many of them were hoping to gain selection for the Junior Kiwis squad.
The tourists? preparation for the game was severely hampered as their flight from Auckland had only landed at lunchtime, giving the players little time to prepare for the 6pm kick off.
However, the Young Lions were first on the scoreboard as winger Rob Worrincy crossed after great work from Stanley Rangers pair Jacky Hogan and Kevin King created the opportunity. Loz Wildbore of West Hull added the extras and BARLA were up and running after just five minutes.
From the start both sides looked to be very evenly matched and the game flowed from end to end. It was no surprise when the hosts hit back to square the score with a converted try after hooker John Te Reo scrambled over from close range near the posts. Just moments later Central United were again back on the attack and took the lead after powerful prop Jim Taikato crashed over, with stand off John Monu adding the extras for the second time.
The remainder of the half continued with both sides striving to create further points, however the defences held firm and the hosts held on to a slim 12-6 advantage at the break.
BARLA kicked off the second period but within the first set of six Central United further increased their lead with skilful stand off John Monu side stepping his way under the posts, leaving his conversion a formality.
The Young Lions were determined not to be outdone and 10 minutes later they pulled a try back after centre Kevin King was first to react to a clever grubber kick from Wigan St Patricks John Thornhill. Wildbore made no mistake with the conversion and tourists were back in the game.
A dropped ball from the re-start gave the home side a great opportunity to capitalise and they made no mistake as substitute Ryan Chapman crossed with the deadly Monu again converting.
Despite the deficit the Young Lions battled back and began to take control of the game and were rewarded for their efforts when London Bronco Rob Worrincy intercepted a stray pass and raced almost the full length of the field to touch down for the second time. Wildbore added the extras and the game was again back in the balance.
However, only five minutes later all the good work was undone as Central United loose forward Joseph Clarke pounced on a loose pass 10 yards from the BARLA line and once again restore the hosts 12 point cushion.
With time running out the tourists kept going to the final whistle and were rewarded with a consolation try to stand off Jacky Hogan. Wildbore again made no mistake with the conversion but it all proved in vain as the full time whistle brought the curtain down on the Damart tour of New Zealand.
Coach Ian Rudd was disappointed with the result.
He said, ?Unforced errors in crucial areas of the field have cost us dear. The Central United team did contain some excellent players and they were a very well drilled outfit.
He added, ?However, we feel that the BARLA players were up to the task and the lack of proper preparation due to the travelling may well of hampered our overall performance.?
Young Lions Manager Joe Elliott was also unhappy with the result, however he was delighted with the way the tour had gone.
He said, ?Although we have just lost a great game of rugby league, I am pleased with the way the tour has gone. The lads have been superb ambassadors for BARLA and although we would have obviously preferred to have won more games, we have learnt a lot from this tour.?
BARLA Great Britain Young Lions
1 Loz Wildbore (West Hull) 2 Rob Worrincy (London Broncos) 3 Kevin King (Stanley Rangers) 4 Richard Squires (Shaw Cross) 5 Craig Calvert (Wath Brow Hornets) 6 Jacky Hogan (Stanley Rangers) 7 Tony Gregg (Wath Brow Hornets) 8 John Pickersgill (Crosfields) CAPTAIN 9 Steve Sutcliffe (Wigan St Patricks) 10 Chris Baines (Wigan St Patricks) 11 Graeme Mattinson (Wath Brow Hornets) 12 Craig Thompson (Wigan St Patricks) 13 James Taylor (Leigh East)
14 John Thornhill (Wigan St Patricks) 15 Matthew Peet (Wigan St Patricks) 16 Andy McGlasson (Wath Brow Hornets) 17 Mark Foster (Maryport)
1 Chris Fox CAPTAIN 2 Upoko Campbell 3 Marvin Karawana 4 Layne Green 5 Duran West 6 John Monu 7 Tim Rangihuna 8 Jim Taikato 9 John Te Reo 10 Michael Burrows 11 Sam Tagataese 12 Hanan Laban 13 Joseph Clarke
14 Joseph Parekura 15 Ryan Chapman 16 Michael Pahulu 17 Alan Schirnack
BARLA Great Britain Young Lions Tries: Worrincy (2), King, Hogan Goals: Wildbore (5)
Central United Tries: Te Reo, Taikato, Monu, Chapman, Clarke Goals: Monu (5)
Referee: Noel Berney
Central United 30 v 26 BARLA Great Britain Young Lions Friday 25th July 2003 At Hunt Rec, Lower Hutt, Wellington
Earlier results in the BARLA Tour of New Zealand:
City United 38 v 11 BARLA Great Britain Young Lions Tuesday 15th July 2003 At Ericsson Stadium, Auckland
Northen United 44 v 20 BARLA Great Britain Young Lions Saturday 19th July 2003 At Davies Park, Huntly
PIRLA 20 v 36 BARLA Great Britain Young Lions Tuesday 22nd July 2003 At Western Springs Stadium, Auckland