Lions See Off Brave Pakistan
British Pakistan XIII 0 v 46 Great Britain Community Lions U18s
The Community Lions under 18s warmed up for their forthcoming six-match tour to Australia with an eight try win over the recently-formed British Pakistan select side, in front of an appreciative crowd at the Grattan Stadium, in a curtain raiser to the Bradford v Wigan Super League clash.
In a competitive contest from the off, the inexperienced Select side showed a great propensity to keep the ball alive, with skipper Junaid Malik to the fore, but lacked a finish, unsurprising perhaps after only three training sessions together.
The Community Lions, comprising of some of the best young talent that is interesting several professional outfits, had a greater understanding – Scott George their midfield architect and schemer – and their higher fitness levels told in the second half.
They were magnificently served by Celtic Crusaders’ two try prop Anthony Symons who looks a real talent along with Hull KR’s Nick Johnson and Leigh-bound Jonathan Pownall.
Former Blackpool prop Carl Briscoe, manager of the Lions, got everything he wanted from the contest, not least a nilling of the opposition.
“The score was immaterial” he said, “It was a good, organised performance that we can take confidence from.”
“We know we’ve a lot of defending to do over there so this was great preparation for us because they came at us well for the full eighty minutes – all credit to them.”
Symons’ early charge gave notice of his intent, Tom Connick having a try disallowed in the 6th minute because of a knock on.
Rehan Mansoor made his presence felt in the tackle, and only an interception by hard-working Andy Ali prevented a raid down the left from Alex Webber and the dangerous George.
Connick opened the scoring with a fine dummy and dart to the posts in the 12th minute and, despite the best efforts of Salford’s Imad Nasir, Anthony Nicholson sent in Jacob Fairbank, nephew of former Bradford great Karl.
George kicked a 40/20 and made the most of the position gained when he sliced through on the fringe at the quarter way mark but for the remainder of the half, British Pakistan dominated.
Junaid Malik, Craig Butt, Omar Mendi and Awais Yousaf tried gamely to engineer an opening but the Lions’ defence held firm.
On the counter, they decisively showed how to take a chance, Symons was twice involved as was Martin Gray, Adam Clay going over in the corner and George landing a touchline conversion.
Symons scored twice in ten minutes at the start of the second half, the first courtesy of a fine inside pass from inventive Callum Windley – son of ex-Hull player Phil – the second a show of raw power from the young Welshman.
Windley’s fine cut out pass allowed Kris Wilkes from Rhyl to speed over and, with the British Pakistanis finding it hard to get out of their own quarter, Sam Hopkins crashed over from close in.
Again the Select combination showed great endeavour without a finish, twice towards the end Amjad Hussain breaking clear but being called back, for a double knock on and then his chip through was covered by Pownall.
Manager of the British Pakistan side, Ikram Butt, was delighted with the occasion and the commitment of his men.
“It was a first run out and I couldn’t ask any more from the players” he commented.
“They did well and can hold their heads up high. They continued playing right to the end and we can improve from here.”
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1 Ahjay Hussain; 2 Omar Alrawi; 3 Kashif Khawaja; 4 Imad Nasir; 5 Amjad Hussain; 6 Junaid Malik; 7 Amraz Hamid; 8 Ricky Wilby; 9 Craig Butt; 10 Andrew Ali; 11 Rehan Mansoor; 12 Osman Malik; 13 Omar Mendi; Subs 14 Imran Hamid; 15 Zahoor Ahmed; 16 Quasim Hussain; 17 Basin Hussain; 18 Awais Yousaf; 19 Wasim Shabir; 20 Hassam Mahmood; 21 Jermaine Akaidere; 22 Khurrum Aziz; 23 John Dufton; 24 Ikram Butt
GB UNDER 18 COMMUNITY LIONS
1 Danny Filson; 2 Alex Webber; 3 Nick Johnson; 4 Jonathan Pownall; 5 Rhys Fenton; 6 Scott George; 7 Tom Connick; 8 Glenn Riley; 9 Anthony Nicholson; 10 Anthony Symons; 11 Sam Hopkins; 12 Jacob Fairbank; 13 Michael Allen; Subs 14 Kris Wilkes; 15 Callum Windley; 16 Martin Gray; 17 Adam Clay; 18 Ben Bailey; 19 Anthony Morrison; 20 Luke Tomlinson; 21 Matthew Lowe
Tries: Connick (12), Fairbank (15), George (21), Clay (35), Symons (43, 53), Wilkes (56), Hopkins (60)
Goals: Webber 2/3, George 5/5
Men of the match: BRITISH PAKISTAN – Junaid Malik GB LIONS – Anthony Symons
Half time: 0-22
Penalty count: British Pakistan 4 Lions 7
Referee: Paul Carr