Skolars 26 Wigan 22
Match report as Wigan Select XIII lose 22-26 to London Skolars in the 2017 Capital Challenge
Wigan fightback from 26-6 down after 50 minutes
- Joe Brown (2), James Barran, Sam Grant and Tom Maloney all on the scoresheet for Wigan
A late fightback from Wigan saw them come up just short as London Skolars won the 2017 Capital Challenge.
The home side led 14-6 at the break and then 26-6 after 50 minutes before a spirited showing saw the Warriors come back to within one try only to lose out 26-22.
Joe Brown scored twice for the young Wigan side with James Barran, Sam Grant and Tom Maloney also on the scoresheet.
Kyle Shelford and Caine Barnes were the only First Team squad players included for the Wigan Select XIII.
Several players were making their first appearance for the Club including England Academy international Joe Brown who joined recently following his release by Bradford.
The home side had both a size and numerical advantage as they named a big looking outfit along with two additional substitutes.
Skolars started well and looked to assert their dominance on the game as they kept Wigan pegged back deep into their own half.
The home side soon made their advantage pay as winger Sam Nash scored the game’s first try before the ten-minute mark.
London led 6-0 and midway through the half their physical dominance paid off again as they forced a drop-out. From the repeat set second-row forward Eddie Mbarga barged his way over, 10-0 the advantage.
The young Warriors had seen very little ball but when they did they made it pay as centre James Barran followed up Callum Woods’ kick to score with Olly Russell’s conversion making 10-6.
The try for Wigan was against the run of play and Billy Driver soon restored a two-try lead for the home side as he burrowed his way over the whitewash from close range.
Skolars continued to have the better of the action and forced a drop-out as the game neared half-time but Wigan held firm to turn around behind 6-14.
HALF TIME: London Skolars 14–6 Wigan Select XIII
London extended their advantage after the break as former London Broncos and Featherstone man Lamont Bryan charged his way over.
Just three minutes later they scored again as Mike Bishay capitalised on a loose ball close to the line to score and make it 26-6 with half an hour still to play.
New recruit Joe Brown looked to be a threat for Wigan operating on the wing and then at full-back where he latched on to a pass to step through the Skolars defence to score.
Brown unlocked the defence once again just minutes later and following his break the ball moved right allowing Sam Grant to score in the opposite corner. James Barran missed both goals, Wigan 14-26 Skolars.
It was a bitterly cold afternoon at The HAC but things warmed-up on the pitch 15 minutes from time when the teams had a scuffle which saw Aaron Small and Joe Pilling sent off.
Wigan continued to rally and trialist Tom Maloney scored the try of the game after finishing off a well worked move by Wigan down the right.
The Warriors were now within eight points of the hosts and knew that another try would have them sweating.
Joe Brown, now back on the wing, finished in style on the left flank after a fine looping pass from Sammy Kibula to give Wigan a lifeline two minutes from the time.
Wigan tried one last time to breakdown the Skolars defence but came up agonisingly short.
FULL TIME: London Skolars 26–22 Wigan Select XIII
London Skolars - 26
Tries: Nash, Mbarga, Driver, Bryan, Bishay
Goals Bishay 2/4, Lawrence 1/1
Wigan Select XIII - 22
Tries: Barran, Brown 2, Grant, Maloney
Goals: Russell 1/1, Smith 0/2, Brown 0/1, Barran 0/1
London Skolars 20. Jake Melling, 2. Sam Nash, 3. Aaron Small, 4. Lameck Juma, 5. Jimmy Hill, 7. Mike Bishay, 9. Charlie Lawrence, 8. Louis Robinson, 14. Billy Driver, 10. Dave Williams, 11. Lamont Bryan, 12. Eddie Mbarga, 13. Ryan Chester
Interchange: 16. Will Fairhurst, 15. Kazeem Fatorch, 18. Mike Greenhalgh, 25. Michael Sykes, 23. Will Martin, 21. Calum Whitcombe, 29. Dan Wazouh, John Allinson, 22. John Parton
Wigan Select XIII 1. Craig Mullen, 2. Joe Brown, 3. James Barran, 4. James Worthington, 5. Sam Grant, 6. Harry Smith, 7. Oliver Russell, 8. Caine Barnes, 9. Callum Wood, 10. Kyle Shelford, 11. Joe Pilling, 12. Liam Paisley, 13. Paddy Casey
Interchange: 14. Nico Rizelli, 15. Oliver Partington, 16. Liam Byrne, 17. Aiden Roden, 19. Tom Maloney, 20. Nathaniel Marshall, Sammy Kibula