London Broncos’ historic win ‘perfect advert’ for rugby league

James Gordon
London Broncos v Sheffield Eagles at Ebbsfleet

Photo Credit: Alan Stanford/PRiME Media Images

London Broncos’ remarkable comeback from 28-0 down at half time to beat Sheffield is believed to be a record in the summer era.

After conceding six first half tries, the Broncos responded with six of their own after the break to record only their third victory of the season.

It was just the tonic for the club’s first game at Ebbsfleet United’s Kuflink Stadium in Kent, which attracted an attendance of 750.

And it’s had historians digging through the record books to see if such a feat – coming back from such a deficit to nil at half time – had ever been recorded in rugby league.

So far, the best anyone can confirm is that it is the biggest comeback since the turn of the millennium.

Coach Mike Eccles said: ““It was the perfect advert for Rugby League, and a fantastic introduction to our first-time supporters who may never have watched the sport before.

“It was what I would describe as a proper London Broncos performance. The day I took charge of the team, I asked for more character and we got exactly that.

“Sheffield played really well in the first half, but we embarrassed ourselves and after making great strides away from home in recent weeks it was disappointing for the team, the club and everyone in attendance.

“Although it required breaking records we never knew existed at the time, we asked the squad to realise the game was not out of our reach at half time. I know the capabilities of this squad, and my team and I never stopped believing in our chances of getting a result.

“We could’ve so easily dropped our heads from minute one in the second half. But the boys came out fighting, it was an unbelievable team effort and I’m proud of every single one of them.”

A hat-trick from Ben Jones-Bishop, a brace for Kris Welham and one for Quentin Laulu-Togagae had the Eagles well in command at half time.

Although Tom Holmes had managed to convert only two of the six tries, no one could have foreseen it being decisive.

But Alex Walker (2), Wellington Albert, Dalton Grant, Siti Moceidreke and Illies Macani all crossed for second half tries for an astounding turnaround.

Kent return for London Broncos

London’s victory was made all the more sweeter by the fact the difference was the goal-kicking of Kent-born stand-off Oliver Leyland. It was their first appearance in Kent since 2013, and was forced due to routine pitch maintenance being carried out at their usual home at Wimbledon FC.

The Broncos return to Ebbsfleet for the visit of Featherstone on Sunday.

Eccles added: “Connecting more people living in the south-east with Rugby League forms part of our long-term objective at London Broncos.

“To have local lad Oli Leyland play an important role in our result meant so much to him, and I know plenty of youngsters who enjoyed a coaching session with Oli building up to kick-off enjoyed watching him kick six successful conversions.”

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