Catalan hold off resilient Broncos
London Broncos 22 Catalan Dragons 24
By Kirsty Saynor
Catalan Dragons claimed the first victory of Magic Weekend 2014, beating London Broncos 22-24 in an extremely close-fought game.
The teams were level towards the end of a see-saw contest and despite matching each other try for try, the result was settled by the two points of a conversion that cruelly denied London their first point of the season.
The opening quarter was a battle of wills between the two sides, with both teams coming up with errors but their opposition unable to take advantage.
It was not until the 23rd minute that the first try of the game was scored by the Broncos, after forcing Catalan into a goal-line drop-out. A succession of quick passes drew the Dragons defence out of their line and Mason Caton-Brown was able to sneak through and score. Josh Drinkwater converted.
However, the Dragons got back into the game 10 minutes later when Vincent Duport jumped higher than the London defence to secure the kick from across the field and crashed over to score. Thomas Bosc converted.
It was not long before Catalan were in again. Ben Pomeroy made an excellent break and passed out to Elliott Whitehead who grabbed the try. Bosc once again converted to make the score 6-12 at half-time.
Catalan opened the scoring in the second half when Jeff Lima forced his way over from 10 metres out; taking two London players over the line with him before video referee Steve Ganson confirmed he had grounded the ball.
However the Broncos refused accept their fate and after a penalty close to the Catalan line, Caton-Brown showed his strength to force his way past the huge defence of the Dragons to smash over the line for his second try.
James Greenwood scored for the Broncos within less than a minute of his team mate’s try and the two teams were now level.
With the two teams neck and neck, Elliot Whitehead went over for Catalan again with just less than ten minutes remaining but the Broncos were not going to let them spoil their party and Drinkwater crashed over for a try just moments later but unfortunately was not able to convert it.
A pumped-up London side threw everything they had at Catalan in the dying minutes of the game but it was not enough and the game finished 22-24 to the Dragons.
(Tries: Caton-Brown (23’, 65’), Greenwood (66’), Drinkwater (75’) Goals: Drinkwater (3/4))
(Tries: Duport (33’), Whitehead (38’, 72’), Lima (58’) Goals: Bosc (4/4))
Referee: Matthew Thomason.