Storm prove too strong for Rhinos

THE Ipswich Rhinos rugby league side travelled to reigning national champions South London with a seriously depleted squad. However they battled hard to dominate long spells, until two late tries put the Conference South Premier Division South game beyond reach as they lost 18-4.

THE Ipswich Rhinos travelled to reigning national champions South London with a seriously depleted squad, however they battled hard to dominate long spells, until two late tries put the Conference South Premier Division South game beyond reach as they lost 18-4.

South London opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a deft inside ball from Walker putting skipper Alan Emerson over near the posts for an unconverted try.

In a game turning into a wrestle, as the two strong defences cancelled each other out, Walker ignited the Londoners backline again in the 18th minute for Owian Rhodda to put the second unconverted try on the board for an 8-0 lead.

The Rhinos peppered the Storm line for much of the remainder of the first half, but a number of attacking errors stunted their efforts, and the home side held their lead at the break.

The second half continued to be as tight as the first, with Ipswich finally being rewarded for their efforts with a try in the corner from James Mayhew in the 63rd minute to narrow the gap to 8-4.

With less than ten minutes to go, the match was anyone's when South London's two débutants pounced on passes from Mick Walker to seal their triumph.

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First, Dan Oldknow ran a great line to force his way over despite the attention of two tacklers in the 72nd minute.

Walker's conversion making the score 14-4, and soon after Walker's cut-out ball to Carl Zacharow opened a hole for Oliver Bloom to score in the corner and seal the match in the 75th minute.

Ipswich coach Andrew Skipper, injured in the match, paid credit to his side's defence and determination, but lamented some lost opportunities in the opposition's final quarter.

He said: “It was a great effort by a depleted side, and defensively we matched them well for the majority of the match. In the end, the Storm had the legs in the last ten minutes to get home.”

Golding and Broughton, both playing their first game for the Rhinos, graduated with honours and will put the pressure on the absent players to regain the places.

South London development officer Andy Gilvary praised his side's patience in attack.

“We were solid all game, and the most pleasing aspect was how well we were able to control the ball at crucial times and give ourselves the opportunity to get some special moves for the tries that mattered.”

So after four games of the new season Ipswich have won two and lost two, but with St Albans beating

West London Sharks, remain in second place in the table on points difference.

This week the Rhinos have a home fixture against North London Skolars A - the National Division Two club's reserve string, who are expected to include a number of players with National Division experience.

Kick-off is 2.30pm at Ipswich Rugby Union Club.

Collier and Catchpole Man of the Match: Adam Cook

Scorers - Tries: James Mayhew.

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