Part-timers v full-timers – a regular thing nowadays in the Championship but the latter have not always had their own way. London picked up their first win in Cumbria for quite some time when they triumphed over Workington Town earlier on this season but Whitehaven may even pose a bigger threat to the Broncos. After a number of good performances in past weeks, James Coyle’s men won’t be short of confidence coming into this match. On home turf as well, Haven will fancy themselves in this one.
Last Time Out
Whitehaven came very close to defeating the high-flying Batley Bulldogs in their own back yard. A 24-23 loss will have been like a dagger to the heart of everyone associated with Whitehaven after nearly picking up a great victory. Chris Taylor broke the deadlock for Haven before the Bulldogs took charge by scoring three consecutive tries down the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium slope. Dave Scott, Adam Gledhill and James Brown all picked up four pointers as the hosts went into the interval with a 16-6 lead. After the restart, Whitehaven cut the deficit completely with tries from Taylor and Craig Calvert. Not long after Calvert’s score came the go ahead try for the visitors courtesy of Dion Aiye. All of a sudden, the Cumbrians were six points to the good during the final quarter. Alex Brown responded with an acrobatic score in the corner for the Bulldogs. The conversion from Pat Walker was successful and the game was all tied up once again. With seven minutes remaining Haven regained the lead with a drop goal from Grant Gore but, not to be outdone, Batley’s winning points came from the tee as Walker slotted home a penalty in the dying embers of the tie.
London Broncos took part in a smash and grab 20-12 victory over fellow top four contenders Featherstone Rovers at the Trailfinders Sports Ground. The visitors were in front for most of the contest but three tries in the final quarter made sure the spoils stayed in the capital. Jordan Baldwinson and John Davies scored the first couple of tries for Featherstone before Broncos winger Rhys Williams replied with a four pointer. Danny Craven extended the visitors’ lead to eight points with a try on the hooter. Despite his side scoring three tries, Kyle Briggs couldn’t add the extras to any and that put London in with a great shout of getting something from the match. They did indeed get something as a brace from Ben Hellewell was backed up by Alex Foster and the Londoners were victorious.
The battle of the dummy-halves will be a good one to watch at the Recreation Ground on Saturday night. Good go-forward from the ruck area is key to every side and when the forwards are on top, Haven’s James Newton is a great player to exploit the gaps in the opposition defence. For the Broncos, the hooking duo of James Cunningham and Andy Ackers provide a healthy amount of speed and awareness and their contributions will be very important.
London have performed much better in the opening two months of this season than they have in past years. Under the guidance of coach Andrew Henderson, the Broncos have put together a strong side in the second tier and a place in the Qualifiers is definitely a target for them. Whitehaven have been playing some decent stuff recently and they will be wanting to carry that forward to Saturday’s game – London by 14