MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 46 – 14 London Skolars

Newcastle Thunder fought back from a slow start to take their tenth Betfred League 1 win of the season on Sunday, with a 46-14 win over London Skolars at Kingston Park.

There had been a quarter of the match played before Remy Marginet got his side off the mark with an opportunistic score after an opening where neither side had made the most of their chances.

Having seen the visitors squander the field position gained from a well taken 40/20, Thunder themselves were unable to make the most of a grubber kick through after a series of penalties had given them the chance to launch a full set of six attack from 20 meters out.

Marginet broke the deadlock after a good chase of a high kick on the fifth tackle forced indecision from the Skolars defenders who allowed the ball to bounce and let Thunder’s French international to scoop the ball out of the air to score.

It was a frustratingly short-lived lead as Thunder allowed the Skolars to hit back cheaply, as the visitors swung the ball wide on the final tackle of the next set to winger Michael Brown, who had all the space and time he needed to get London off the mark.

With a successful conversion putting the hosts behind, it was the spur that was needed to galvanise their attack and start to show the credentials of a side looking to maintain pursuit of the League 1 play-off places.

Local lad Ali Blair got his side back in front as he was handed the ball in space before Thunder showed off their footballing skills and worked the ball upfield on the floor, with an excellent angled pass to Lewis Young then chipped on for fullback Tee Ritson to chase down and score.

With both tries converted for a 16-6 half-time lead, Thunder were quicker out of the blocks in the second 40 when Ritson extended his sides lead as he held his strength under the attention of two Skolars defenders to keep his feet and score another converted try.

Taking their lead from the visitors efforts in the first half, Thunder pulled off a superb 40/20 of their own with 10 minutes played but for the hosts, it was a platform that the used for another converted score, this time thanks to second row Aaron Ollett whose perfectly angled run allowed him to crash over from close range.

A botched restart looked to have given the Skolars an opportunity to claw back some ground but when they lost the ball forward on the floor, Young was fastest to pounce as he regained possession for his side before racing 70 meters down the pitch for a score that effectively sealed the game.

Thunder hooker Ben Pointer brought up the 40 point mark for the hosts as he fielded a well-weighted cross-field kick from Marginet before a frenzied finish allowed London two scores either side of Young’s second.

Moving up to eighth in the League 1 table off the back of the weekend’s results, Thunder kick-off the six-game run-in to the end of the season away to Keighley Cougars next Sunday, with nothing short of victory sufficing in their chase of the top five.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Mo Agoro, Joe Brown, Lewis Young, Ali Blair, Adam Brook, Remy Marginet, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Sam Luckley, Aaron Ollett, Harry Aldous, Liam Richmond, Liam Scott, Vincent Rennie, Ben Pointer

Try Scorers – Marginet (21), Blair (33), Ritson (39, 44), Ollett (52), Young (55, 79), Pointer (72)

Goal Scorer – Marginet 7/8

London Skolars

Mike Bishay, Billy Driver, Sam Nash, Matthew Fleming, Michael Brown, Jymel Coleman, Philip Lyon, Will Martin, Neil Thorman, Matt Ross, Daymeric Pelo, Jordan Williams, Ryan Chester, Matthew Davies, Rob Butler, Eddie Mbaraga, Michael Sykes

Try Scorers – Brown (25), Pelo (76), Williams (80)

Goal Scorer – Thorman 1/3