South Wales Scorpions completed the double over London Skolars for just their second win of the season and their first in Wales for 2014.
Man of the match Paul Emanuelli scored a drop goal in the final minutes to secure a 19-18 win yesterday, July 27.
The match at Cardiff Arms Park attracted a crowd of 486, the Scorpions’ best of the season and the biggest in Championship 1 outside of the north of England this season.
The home side didn’t have the best start as Ashley Bateman was sin binned for dissent on nine minutes and Skolars almost took advantage but Erjon Dollapi was stopped short of the line.
However, it was 12-man Scorpions who took the lead after Phil Carleton did well to fight off two Skolars men and roll over the line for an unconverted try.
The Scorpions survived giving away five penalties before Courtney Davies ran under the sticks and converted himself to put London in front.
Ian Newbury looked to have given Scorpions the advantage back when he reached out for the line but the referee deemed his arm to be millimetres short of the whitewash.
But Jordan Sheridan made no mistake as, from a penalty, he ran over unchallenged to place the ball under the sticks. Emanuelli made no mistake on this occasion to make the score 10-6.
The penalties came rolling in and Skolars’ Josh Sunley was sent to the bin for a high tackle.
When Scorpions were awarded their third penalty of the first half Emanuelli chose to kick at goal to give the Welsh a 12-6 scoreline in their favour at the break.
It looked like it was going to be a case of same old story for the Scorpions in the second half as they succumbed to two early second half scores.
Crusaders’ loanee Ryan McDonald muscled his way through the Scorpions back-line for the first which was converted to level the scores.
Skolars went ahead after winning a repeat set and skipper Dave Williams used his height to reach through a pile of Scorpions players and score, with Davies converting.
But the last 15 minutes was dominated by the Scorpions despite a string of errors on both sides.
A trademark 40-20 from Emanuelli gave Scorpions a chance to level things up. Daniel Parry was held up over the line but later in the set, Jack Pring weaved his way through the Skolars defence to score, and Emanuelli converted to make the score 18-all.
Scorpions thought they’d regained the lead with ten minutes to go but Parry was denied for a second time, again being held up over the line by some strong London defending.
The sides fought their way through the last ten minutes. Chris Leyshon intercepted a waywood London pass on his own 10 metre line and following knock-ons from both sides, Emanuelli kicked a drop goal with just four minutes remaining on the clock.
Scorpions looked to make it safe in the final minute but again the Skolars defence held out and Morgan Evans was held up over the line.
Skolars were attacking as the final hooter went but didn’t have enough in the tank to secure more than a bonus point.
Match report by Ian Golden.