Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sunday's Coming. But Cookie's going!

London Skolars come to Spotland on the back of a narrow iPro semi-final defeat to Keighley. Indeed, Skolars are having a bit of a rennaissance this season under coach Jermaine Coleman.

Coleman’s signing of his brother - former Keighley and Hemel Stags halfback Jy-mel - looks to have been the final piece in the New River Stadium jigsaw as Skolars sit 6th on points difference with four wins and a solitary defeat to York.

Squad contans 8 former London Broncos, 8 former Hemel Stags - and, most eyecatching to us RL geeks, former Harlequins RL/Bradford Bulls/Leigh Centurions/Penrith Panthers/WindsorWolves second row Michael Worrincy (he’s also had a stint in ‘the other game’ at London Irish and was once selected to play for Harlequins Rugby Union side in the Middlesex Sevens). His huge experience will carry a lot of currency in League 1 and Skolars great start to the season reflects that.

In the league they’ve won four on the trot, having battered Coventry 52-20;  won 31-24 at Crusaders; flogged Hemel at Pennine Way and taken a functional 10 point win over Oxford.

In the iPro cup they turned over Doncaster at the Keepmoat by 24-12 and pummeled Scorpions by 44-6. The only real blip in their season was a shock 13-nil cup upset at Pilkongton Recs back in February. So - so far so impressive. Not a game to be taken lightly.

Hornets come into the weekend off the back of a good week.

Having had the barefaced temerity to dare to accuse the sainted Toulouse of adopting underhand tactics in our recent draw, Hornets concern for player welfare was vindicated this week when Toulouse centre Bastien Ader received a four game ban after being found guilty of biting Lewis Galbraith.

Olympique denied the incident, but after review by the RFL tribunal, Ader was found guilty of the Grade E charge.

Hornets CEO, Ryan Bradley, says the matter should now be put to bed after Ader was hit with the four-match ban. “We are glad that the case has been heard and feel appropriate action has been taken.”   We tried to call Luis Suarez for a comment, but we don’t have his number.

Beyond that, Hornets fans were buoyant after last weekend’s clinically convincing win at Barrow maintained our position at the top of the League 1 table. A vociferous bunch of Hornets supporters made themselves heard on both sides of Craven Park - including inside and outside (it’s been a while since we had a proper sing).

So let’s go again on Sunday for this one. See you there.

Breaking News: John Cookson

John Cookson's note to friends and supporters
shared via Twitter
The news broke on Social Media today (Thursday) that club stalwart John Cookson is leaving the club after seven and a half seasons of sterling service in the red, white and blue.

After signing for Leigh from Adlington Juniors, he first came to Hornets for a loan spell. He went on to become the first player to reach 100 appearances for the supporter-owned Hornets.

Having made his debut on 14th March 2008 v Salford City Reds, Cookie played over 130 games and scored 27 tries  - including one in the Grand Final at Leigh in 2013 (where we couldn’t see who scored, awarded it to someone else, then got a call from his mum to put us right).

Voted a hero of Hornets by the Heritage Commitee and one of the all-time Heroes XIII by supporters, it’s fair to say that Cookie’s contribution has been legendary.

Heroic: Cookie centre stage at 2015's All-Time XIII presentation night.