MATCH REPORT – London Skolars 16 – 60 Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder ensured the delayed start to their Betfred League 1 season was worth the wait on Saturday afternoon, with a handsome 16-60 win away to London Skolars.

It was a victory that was secured by a dominant second half in which Thunder ran in six of their 10 tries and made it two games in a row that Jason Payne’s side have broken the half century of points, helped again by the dead-eye goal-kicking accuracy of half back Tom Shaw.

Having endured two false starts to the league, a steady first half saw Thunder take a 12-24 lead as the team settled into their plays.

Following a tight opening, Liam McAvoy brought the deadlock on ten minutes with a trademark forwards try, making sure that his team took the rewards from playing themselves up to the shadow of the Skolars posts.

Running a hard line, the Cumbrian prop collected Evan Simons’ short pass to crash through for the opening points of the game.

The hosts fought back over the course of the next quarter of an hour and were 12-6 in front as the half hour mark approached, having scored converted tries through Callum Field and Craig Mullen before Thunder responded.

2017’s League 1 Young Player of the Season Lewis Young allowed Thunder to draw level thanks to a converted try made through his usual elusive style of running, before Tuoyo Egodo regained the lead by breaking through two Skolars defenders for a clear run to the line.

Young added a second just before the break with an almost carbon copy of his first effort and with Shaw adding his fourth goal of the game, Thunder could be happy with a solid start.

Having seized control of the game in the closing stages of the first forty, Thunder exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second, with two tries in six minutes through Mo Agoro and Shaw.

Former All Golds winger showed why he will be a major threat for Thunder in 2018 as he broke the Skolars line just past half way and turned on the jets for an excellent breakaway try before Shaw finished off a flowing move, running an intelligent support line and taking the scoring pass from an offload out of a tackle.

Theerapol Ritson showed why he was a highly prized capture for the club as he brought up the 40 point mark, as the fullback skipped his way out of a tackle to score under the posts, before Ben Pointer added his name to the list of Thunder scorers as he scooped up the ball to power over from close range.

Aaron Ollett scored a cracking try as Thunder worked the ball in tight confines out to him on the wing and while Skolars got one back through Sam Nash, it was Thunder who had the final word as Ryan Lloyd broke the line at pace for his sides final try.

Shaw made it 10/10 from the kicking tee to make it 60 points for the Tynesiders and signified their intent to be one of the competition’s top teams in 2018.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Ali Blair, Joe Brown, Tuoyo Egodo (DR), Mo Agoro, Tom Shaw, Lewis Young, Vincent Rennie, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Ben Calland, Aaron Ollett, Liam McAvoy, Ben Pointer, Ryan Lloyd, Conor Fitzsimmons, Harry Aldous

Try Scorers – McAvoy, Young (2) Egodo, Shaw, Agoro, Ritson, Pointer, Ollett, Lloyd

Goals – Shaw 10/10

London Skolars

Lamont Bryan, Omari Caro, Ryan Chester, Billy Driver, Callum Field, Joshua Ganson, Elliot Hall, Lameck Juma, Charlie Lawrence, Philip Lyon, William Martin, Ed Mbaraga, Jake Melling, Craig Mullen, Sam Nash, Louis Robinson

Try Scorers – Field, Mullen, Nash

Goals – Field, Mullen