London stun Widnes in Qualifiers first round

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

A late Jarrod Sammut drop-goal saw London continue their unbeaten run to eight games and condemned Widnes to a 17th straight league loss.

Francis Cummins made six changes to his Widnes Vikings side that lost to Castleford Tigers two weeks ago. Charlie Gubb, Olly Ashall-Bott, Gil Dudson, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston and Charly Runciman replaced Jay Chapelhow, Rhys Hanbury, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth and Ryan Ince.

London Broncos coach Danny Ward made just one change to his team that demolished Barrow Raiders last time out. Matt Davies came in for Rob Butler.

Runciman thought he had scored for Widnes when he crossed the whitewash in the 15thminute, but it was ruled out by the video referee due to an earlier obstruction.

Widnes did score on the half hour mark though. Ashall-Bott, who was a real livewire in the first half, stormed onto a flat pass from Heremaia to score. Krisnan Inu converted to put his side in a 6-0 lead.

The Vikings started to get on top of the Broncos towards the end of the first half, but strong defence from London kept them out. Widnes were 6-0 ahead at the break.

London started the second half in great fashion. Mark Ioane went over the line following a great break from Rhys Williams. Jarrod Sammut’s conversion attempt hit the post and come back out.

Cummins’ side extended their lead after London were caught interfering at the play-the-ball. Widnes opted to take a shot at goal and Inu successfully added the two points, Widnes 8-4 London after 50 minutes.

Widnes extended their lead shortly after. Dean steamed onto a fine ball from Joe Mellor to touch down. Inu’s boot took the score to 14-4.

London hit back with a try on the hour mark. Daniel Harrison ran a smart line to get on the end of an Api Pewhairangi pass to score. Sammut successfully added the conversion.

Ward’s men scored in quick succession. They looked very dangerous going forward and Sammut orchestrated a lovely passing move which resulted in Kieran Dixon levelling the score.

Dixon fired the Broncos into the lead in the 67thminute. He intercepted a lofted pass from Liam Finn to race 80 metres and go under the sticks. Sammut added the extras and London were 20-14 to the good.

Inu cottoned onto a crossfield kick from Finn to tie the score with just five minutes remaining. He converted his own try and it was a nail-biting finish.

With just 48 seconds left on the clock, Sammut held his nerve and slotted a drop-goal to seal an emphatic 21-20 victory for his side in the first round of the Qualifiers.

Widnes: Ashall-Bott; Ah Van, Inu, Whitley, Runciman; Mellor, Finn; Houston, Heremaia, Dudson, Dean, Hansen, Hauraki. Subs: Leuluai, Gubb, Olbison, D Walker.

London: Walker; Dixon, Hellewell, Kear, Williams; Pewhairangi, Cunningham; Battye, Pelissier, Evans, Pitts, Hindmarsh-Takyi, Davis. Subs: Spencer, Ioane, Harrison, Sammut.

Starman: Jarrod Sammut was fantastic for London in the second half. He was at the heart of everything they did in attack and he held great nerve for the drop-goal.

Attendance: 3,432