Catalan scrape past courageous London

London Broncos and Catalan Dragons opened Magic Weekend underneath blazing Saturday sunshine at the Etihad, with the game coming to life in the last quarter.

The first few minutes of the game took place in a relaxed atmosphere in the stands, which seemed to transfer itself onto the pitch.

After 15 or so inconclusive opening minutes, it looked as though the Dragons were beginning to work their way on top. Pryce began to throw some dangerous long passes, but handling errors prevented any real threat from occurring.

A disallowed try from Michael Oldfield was all they had to show for their efforts, though, and by the 22nd minute they were behind on the scoreboard.

Good work on the left edge allowed Mason Caton-Brown into score, with the London full-back running a great line for his try.

Catalan continued to look the better side, if only slightly, and enjoyed the bulk of the territory for the rest of the half.

In the 32nd minute Vincent Duport crossed for the Catalans, after taking a high kick from the middle, which angled towards the London left wing. The French centre used his considerable upper body strength to wrestle the ball down.

The Dragons then took the lead in somewhat fortuitous fashion, with Elliott Whitehead touching down after a move on the right. A powerful break from Ben Pomeroy saw the centre offload.

The ball hit a London defender before being regathered by Whiehead, who powered over from close range.

The second half action continued in much the same way as the first half had transpired.

London continued to show sparks in the threequarters, a fine break by Jordan Atkins for example, but poor handling at crucial times let them down.

Further handling errors from both teams ensured that the score remained as it was at half time, until Jeff Lima forced his way under the sticks from 20 metres out to register a try for the Dragons.

Caton Brown scored London’s second try with 16 minutes remaining. The promising full-back showed good strength to force his way over from just inside the Catalan 20 metre line. Catalan blazed the kick off out on the full over the deadball line, allowing London to apply pressure.

London took advantage too, with James Greenwood forcing his way over from close range within a couple of tackles of the following set.

Dragons scored next, with Whitehead registering another try after a good break down the right hand side, with passes actually going to hand this time.

But London were not finished yet. Drinkwater scored a try after good effort on the right edge with six minutes remaining. The conversion was missed, however, and the Broncos ended up on the wrong side of a scoreline yet again.

London full-back Ben Farrar summed up his team’s feelings, when he told Love Rugby League: “That one hurt a lot to be honest. The dressing shed was pretty quiet afterwards.

“It’s a really great concept. Kicking off at 12.30 was tough, and there’s a few dehydrated boys in there.

“But we look forward to next week.”

Final Score: London Broncos 22-24 Catalan Dragons

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