League 1 Preview: London Skolars v Barrow Raiders

Date: Sunday 17th May

Venue: New River Stadium

Kick-off: 3.00pm


London Skolars may have won the second half against Oxford last week however their inability to post a single point in the first 40 meant that they had left themselves too much to do.

They were eventually beaten 38-24 as Luke Gardiner’s late score put the game to bed, with coach Jermaine Coleman disappointed with his side’s performance.

“We didn’t start the game particularly well and things went from bad to worse in the first half,” he said. “Having said that, when you analyse the game it comes down to four missed tackles and one moment of a lack of desire to go and catch a ball.

“In the second half we got a reaction, which I asked for, unfortunately the game changed on a refereeing decision. That doesn’t take away from the fact that we weren’t that creative in the first half and just weren’t good enough.”

They have the tough test of hosting Barrow this week with Coleman hopeful of having prop forward Louis Robinson available for selection as he looks for a complete performance from his side.

“Barrow will be super confident given their win at the weekend but it’s an opportunity for us to get back on the horse and for our guys to show what they’ve got in the locker, which they did in the second half last week. That’s the challenge that I would pose to my players this week – are they capable of repeating that second 40 minutes for the whole 80 minutes?

“If they do that then we give ourselves an opportunity.”

Barrow Raiders will be on a high after becoming the first side so far this season to defeat Oldham, with a 30-18 win up in Cumbria.

Raiders coach Paul Crarey was delighted with the victory as they ended Oldham’s unbeaten run and climbed up to fifth in the table.

“Oldham were coming off a five-game winning streak so we knew we had to be at our best. It was a really important game for both sides.”

The focus is now on a long trip to London which they will have to make without loose forward Danny Toal and second rower Liam Harrison who are doubts with arm injuries.

“Now we need to go to London and win otherwise it’s all been for nothing. We’ve got to start picking up on our away form. We don’t know what to expect. It’s a long trip for us and some of the lads are worrying about the routine of going away on Saturday night and staying over in a hotel.

“But it happens in professional sport, so it’s a new challenge for them to prepare well. We’ve got a young set of lads but if we get everything right I’m sure we can do really well.”

Prediction: Skolars have home advantage on their side and Barrow’s away form has been poor this season however they should be too strong for the London side. Raiders to win by 18.

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