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MATCH REPORT: Rovers make it three from three

Snapshot: Rovers race into a 25-8 half-time lead. Danny Addy, Kieren Moss and Rob Mulhern among the scorers. Jamie Ellis kicks seven goals from seven.

A double from Ryan Shaw ensured the Robins banked their third win from three in the Super 8s Qualifiers against London.

Tim Sheens made two changes to the side which defeated the Leigh Centurions the previous week, with Chris Atkin earning a start at stand-off alongside Jamie Ellis and Nick Scruton rested. Mose Masoe made his first start since joining the club with Rob Mulhern earning a recall on the bench alongside Matty Marsh.

The Robins got the game underway, but after an early attack from an Ellis bomb, back-to-back penalties gave London the field position to open the scoring four minutes in.

Andrew Heffernan did well to rush in and shut down Alex Walker as the Broncos looked to go wide, but the full-back’s quick play-the-ball allowed Andy Ackers to go for the line and get the ball down. Jarrod Sammut converted, but the Red and Whites were soon pressing for a response after some strong running through the middle earned them consecutive penalties.

Lee Jewitt and George Lawler were held up over the line in quick succession, before Atkin’s dummy saw him almost carve through the visitors’ defence. Danny Addy was taken out off the ball, but play was allowed to go on and the back-rower exacted his own form of revenge by throwing a big dummy and barging over from close range.

Ellis slotted over the conversion to level the scores, but the Broncos edged back ahead again four minutes later when Masoe was rather harshly ruled to have been holding down. Sammut slotted over the penalty goal, but the introduction of Shaun Lunt from the bench immediately sparked the Robins.

A powerful carry from Jewitt laid the platform for the skipper to dart out of dummy-half and find Atkin in space. He found Ellis joining the line, and the scrum-half’s pass allowed Kieren Moss to scorch past Ben Hellewell and score out wide.

Ellis converted, and a big run from Justin Carney soon had the Robins on the attack again after the big winger was caught high by Sammut. The resulting penalty allowed the Red and Whites to roll down the field, and Lunt sent Rob Mulhern powering over alongside the uprights.

Ellis added the extras, and some good defence on the edge from Heffernan forced Hellewell to spill possession on half-way. Rovers looked to attack direct from the scrum, taking the ball to the short side where Heffernan showed his class to skin Hellewell on the outside before delivering a gorgeous flick-pass to send Ryan Shaw cruising over.

Ellis made no mistake to land his fourth goal of the day, and on the stroke of half-time, a good spell of attacking pressure paid dividends in the final seconds. Carney carried Kieran Dixon into his in-goal area for drop-out, and with five seconds on the clock, Atkin fielded Sammut’s kick before calmly landing a 30-metre drop-goal to extend Rovers’ lead.

Half-Time: Hull Kingston Rovers 25       London Broncos 8

The Robins had quickly got into their stride after a sluggish start to the game, and they increased their advantage just five minutes after the restart courtesy of an Ellis penalty for a ball-steal.

London were soon pressing for points of their own though, as Dixon’s break led to a repeat set when Carney knocked his pass down. Addy collected the ball in an offside position, conceding a penalty 30 metres out, but the back-rower relieved the building pressure with a crunching hit on Sammut that forced the ball loose.

The visitors were soon back on the attack though, where James Cunningham’s optimistic chip ahead found space. Moss opted to go for the ball with his feet, failing to control it and Cunningham picked up the pieces for a simple try.

Sammut converted, but Rovers hit back when a big charge from Masoe allowed Lunt to scamper out of dummy-half and straight through the heart of the Broncos’ defence. Support was pouring through all around him, and Lunt found Shaw to give the winger a simple second score.

Ellis kept his 100 percent kicking record intact, but a good attacking position was spurned soon after when Shaw pushed a risky offload close to London’s line. The Broncos picked up possession and broke away after Ellis was blocked from making a covering tackle, and Walker was in support to go over.

Sammut converted and the visitors were almost in again when Rhys Williams palmed William Barthau’s cross-kick inside for Jay Pitts to touch down, but referee Tom Grant ruled that the ball had travelled forward and disallowed the score.

The Robins steadied the ship with a another penalty goal 11 minutes from time after London were caught offside, but the Broncos capitalised on their growing momentum to set up a nervy finish when Mark Ioane barged over from close range.

Sammut converted, but Rovers scrambled hard on their try line to deny Williams at the corner before Elliot Kear went over out wide in the final minute.

Sammut was wide of the mark with the conversion though, and the hooter was a welcome relief to those in red and white as the Robins went into their blank week with three wins from three.

Full-Time: Hull Kingston Rovers 35       London Broncos 30

Hull KR: 32. Kieren Moss; 5. Ryan Shaw, 22. Andrew Heffernan, 11. Maurice Blair, 36. Justin Carney; 38. Chris Atkin, 7. Jamie Ellis; 37. Lee Jewitt, 19. Goerge Lawler, 39. Mose Masoe; 10. Chris Clarkson, 13. Danny Addy, 33. Ben Kavanagh.

Replacements: 9. Shaun Lunt, 12. James Greenwood, 20. Matty Marsh, 21. Rob Mulhern.

London: 24. Alex Walker; 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 1. Elliot Kear, 5. Kieren Dixon; 6. Jarrod Sammut, 7. William Barthau; 8. Tom Spencer, 14. Andy Ackers, 10. Mark Ioane; 36. Sam Wilde, 13. Jay Pitts, 18. Ben Evans.

Replacements: 9. James Cunningham, 22. Matt Davies, 23. Matthew Gee, 16. Junior Roqica.

Referee: Tom Grant            Attendance: 7,245

Photo: MATCH REPORT: Rovers make it three from three