London Skolars 24
Gloucestershire All Golds All Golds 34
Gloucestershire All Golds survived fully 15 minutes of concerted pressure to earn a much needed win over the London Skolars.
New signing Casey Canterbury scored the clinching try, his second of the game, finishing off a move started by Aiden Jenkins who picked up a spilled pass as the Skolars pressed for the winning score of their own.
It was a gutsy second-half performance with the team digging deep into their reserves of stamina on a sweltering day in the capital but they showed they could play good rugby in the first period.
New coach Steve McCormack’s influence was immediately obvious as the side played with snap and precision that had been so often lacking in recent weeks.
The All Golds led 18-12 at the break outscoring their host by four tries to two and deserved their advantage. A debut try after just two minutes from Dan Spencer-Tonks who took Sam Te’o’s inside pass to go over but the Skolars soon took the lead.
After an error from the kick off Dennis Tuffour wrestled his way over for the Skolars before a fine wide pass from Danny Thomas sent Aiden Jenkins in at the corner.
The Skolars had plenty of pressure on the All Golds line but the defence held firm until Martyn Smith sneaked over from dummy half.
Thomas then sent Jason Muranka powering over but the visitors made a mess of the restart but survived the Skolars attack, holding Lamont Bryan up over the line before they extended their lead.
Canterbury kicked through close to the line and gathered a ricochet to dot down. Jenkins could not convert the score but the All Golds extended their lead five minutes into the second period as Muranka simply stepped past some weak tackles to score.
The Skolars pressed and when Spencer-Tonks decked a high kick behind the line it was the precursor to the Skolars laying siege to the line.
They dominated possession, forcing two goal-line drop outs and it was no surpise that Mike Worrincy powered over to score, Matt Bradley adding the goal.
Ten minutes later, James Woodburn-Hall stepped through to score, Bradley kicking the Skolars two points ahead.
It seemed the All Gilds were out on their feet but they somehow got off the canvas and hit back Izaak Duffy forcing his way over on a last tackle powerplay. Jenkins goal gave the All Golds a four point lead.
In the final minutes as the clock ticked down and the Skolars chased the game, a pass went down, Jenkins swooped and Canterbury raced unopposed to the line for the winning score and a perfect start to McCormack’s tenure as All Golds coach.