Chargers took the first step on the road to Wembley in first round Tetley’s Challenge Cup win.
South West London Chargers 12-6 Torfaen Tigers
Chiswick rugby league side South West London Chargers took the first step on the road to Wembley with a 12-6 victory over Welsh champions Torfaen Tigers in the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Their first foray into rugby league’s oldest competition was a hard fought contest and given that both teams normally begin their seasons in April, there was a degree of rustiness which led to a raft of errors.
However, with the iconic trophy glinting in the sun as they stepped out to do battle, the Chargers marched to victory.
The recent rain thankfully had abated but it left the surface heavy. The home side s had the advantage of a strong wind at their backs in the first half and dominated the opening quarter.
Torfaen were rarely able to get out of their own half and only some stout defending kept their line intact. However after 23 minutes they finally cracked, a penalty giving the home side good field position and they took full advantage.
A strong run by their lively hooker Nathan Coughtrey took them within striking distance of the visitors’ line before replacement Terance Puna powered his way over. Coughtrey saw his conversion hit the post and bounce away to leave them with a 4-0 lead.
As the half progressed the Tigers finally worked their way up field, courtesy of back to back penalties, and Zack Hadley went close following a strong drive but the home defence held firm.
The Welsh champions showed they could be dangerous on the break, centre Jon Davies charging up field after a neat move down the blindside but as with so many of their promising attacks, it came to nothing due to a handling error.
However, going into the second half trailing by just four points, the visitors were still in the game but even with the advantage of a stiff breeze they found themselves under pressure in the early exchanges. Sixteen minutes into the half they launched their first attack and went close on a number of occasions but couldn’t register any points.
The Tigers continued to give away penalties and cough up possession and one such handling error deep in their own half was to prove costly. Going into the final quarter the Chargers struck the crucial blow.
Winning a scrum deep in the opposition half they worked the ball wide through centre Tala Petelo. He put Dave ‘Dingo’ Wojciechowicz away down the left, the winger cutting inside before touching down under the posts.
Coughtrey made no mistake with the conversion to make it 10-0 with 16 minutes remaining and added a penalty as the game drew to its conclusion. On the last play of the game the Tigers finally cracked the home defence when Gareth Roberts got on the end of a long pass to score with Luke Brown adding the conversion before the final whistle.
So the Chargers continue on their remarkable journey. Just a year after being formed following the amalgamation of West London Sharks and South London Storm, they are eagerly awaiting the draw for the second round.
Chargers: Ben Hird; David Wojciechowicz, Tala Petelo, Paul Wojciechowicz, Luke Campbell; Nathan Brown, Matt Stone; Adam Tran ©, Nathan Coughtrey, Mark Clune, Dan Williams, John Paul Byrne, Steve Whitton. Interchange: Craig Kruger Terance Puna, Craig Monteiro, Scott Morton.