England Level the Series

England Academy 28 (Ash Handley, Jack Logan 5, Jansin Turgit 12, Robbie Ward 9, Jack Johnson 2 tries, Jordan Abdull 4 goals) defeated Australian Schoolboys 14 (Latrell Mitchell, Ash Nisbet, Jacob Liddle tries, Brock Lamb goal) at Leigh Sports Village Friday 12th December, 2014.

Australian Schoolboys came into the game one up in the series, but the England Academy had their tails up after a strong finish in Game 1. The night was warmer than last week, but intermittent showers throughout the match made conditions greasy and at times difficult.

This was shown from the kick off, when the bomb like kick off from England was spilt by the Australian catcher, and England were immediately able to go on the attack. From the scrum, they hit one tackle to the posts, then swept back to the left, where fullback Ash Golding took advantage of a sweep play to put centre Ash Handley in for a try 5 metres in from the right corner. Jordan Abdul’s conversion gave England a dream start and a 6 – 0 lead.

From the set of tackles from the kick off, Ash Handley again threatened with a long break from his own half, but the movement broke down when a forward pass was thrown.

As the rain came down again, England brought their kicking game into action, and was awarded a 40-20, though there was some contention about whether the kicker was behind his 40 metre line or not. However, it came to nothing a couple of tackles later when a pass finished up into touch.

The Australians finally started to settle, and at the 10 minute mark Jack Cogger’s kick through pinned the English on their line, and a great set of fast moving, aggressive defence from Australia kept them inside their own 10 metre line. Their kick was good, but Latrell Mitchell was able to bring it back 10 metres into the England half. A good Australian attacking set put England under more pressure near their line, but when they got the ball back, England were awarded a relieving penalty on their own 20 metre on the 4th tackle.

As the rain tumbled down again, Australia received two consecutive penalties, one for a hold down and then one for offside, and as Australia attacked Jayden Brailey almost went in under the posts. The ball then went left to Brock Lamb who put Latrell Mitchell over to score 10 metres in from the corner post. The conversion attempt went wide, and England retained the lead, 6 – 4.

At the 28th minute mark, with England attacking strongly, they were held up in the left corner by a mass of defenders. They then shifted the ball right, and in the centre of the field half Joe Keyes kicked over the top to the corner for winger Jack Logan to catch and score in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide, but England extended their lead to 10 – 4.

England knocked the ball on from the kick off, and allowed Australia to go on the attack, with Jacob Host almost forcing his way over under the posts. Again the ball was moved quickly to the left, where Brock Lamb found Ash Nisbet lurking with intent, and he raced over to score 12 metres in from the corner. Lamb missed the conversion, but Australia narrowed the margin to 10 – 8.

Australia again dropped the ball from the kick off, and England was again on the attack. They kicked into the in goal, but the ball went innocuously dead. The score remained the same as the ref blew his whistle for half time.

Australia also started the second half badly when a staggered defensive line allowed Will Maher to run 40 metres from inside his own half. Fortunately for Australia, the ball was spilled, and they were able to get back on the attack, and work their way to England’s 20 metre line. A brock Lamb kick was well chased by Keenen Yorston to the corner. He made a good tackle, and this was followed by another strong set of defence with great line speed which kept England within 5 metres of their own tryline. On the 4th tackle, the dummy half dropped the ball, and Australia were ready to pounce. A Lamb grubber kick was chased hard by both teams, and Ash Golding slid into the advertising hoardings, hurting his shoulder and delaying the game. England sent the drop out 50 metres on the fly, but strong 20 metres runs from Jacob Host and then Ash Nisbet put Australia back on the attack, but they were tackled on the last 5 metres out.

From this, England worked their way out and finished with a good kick to fullback Mitchell. As he brought it back, though, he lost the ball, it seemed backwards, but a scrum was the ref’s decision. This put pressure on the Australian defence, and England were awarded another penalty for an apparent high tackle. England attacked, were held up 5 metres out, then shifted left for Jordan Abdull to send Jansin Turgut in for a try at the 10th minute mark of the second half. Abdull’s conversion took England away to 16 – 8.

Five minutes later, Australia started to get some sustained attack going. After a good set in which they gained ground, Mitchell was tackled on the last 5 metres out.

At the 16th minute, after two hit ups that made considerable ground, Ray Stone made another strong incursion, and followed it with a quick play the ball. Jacob Liddle took advantage of it by bursting out of dummy half from 10 metres out, and scoring beneath the posts with barely a hand laid upon him. Lamb converted to make the score 16 – 14 England.

Australia looked strong as Tom Amone charged 30 metres from the kick off, and Hame Sele followed it with a similar burst of 20 metres. Amone went again and got through a hole, but was brought down. The set ended when Jack Cogger was caught in possession on the last tackle. In England’s second tackle of that set, though, Amone forced the ball free in his tackle, and Australia should have been on the attack. Exuberant play saw the ball go loose, though, and England winger Johnson ran them out of trouble.

At 22 minutes, England bombed away again, and Gideon Gela took a spectacular catch on his 30 metre line, then got through the line of chasers to set sail for the line. In a 60 metre chase of intense speed, Ash Golding ran him down. As he was tackled, though, Gela got a kick in,and England was forced over the dead ball line in a tackle.

The resultant drop out was poor, and again Australia looked to be strongly on the attack, but Sele was deemed to have fumbled the ball as he played it, despite Amone going through a hole near the line from the dummy half pass.

England got back on the attack, and at the 25 minute mark they again put up a very high bomb. The ball was let bounce, and after a scramble while it was loose, it came free to Jansin Turgut who kicked it through for hooker Robbie Ward to dive on. Abdull again converted, and England led 22 – 14.

At this point the timekeeping became vague as the game heightened in excitement and the crowd became more vocal than ever. Australia received a penalty, and again threatened after great runs from Tyrell Fuimaono and Amone, but Braden Robson was tackled into touch just short of the try line.

A couple of minutes later, England received another penalty for a high tackle, and they then made good inroads into the Australian defence. As the Australians backpedalled, Golding passed the ball to Abdull who sent Toby King on a short break. As he was tackled, he got a pass away to Jack Johnson, who cut back inside to score 5 metres in from the left upright. This was the signal for great jubilation from the English players, and players from both teams became rather excited. Two players were sin binned as a result. Abdull’s boot was again on target with the conversion. England 28 – 14.

The crowd of 1,197 got loudly behind England in the last few minutes, and they were able to keep the score the same until the ref blew for full time.

Man of the Match, England – Ash Golding

Man of the Match, Australia – Ray Stone


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