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Admirals are too slippery for Eels
Greenwich Admirals scored probably their finest win of the season with an amazing 28-16 win over a talented and powerful Essex Eels side, in Basildon, to progress into the quarter finals of the Rugby League Conference Plate play-offs.
Eltham-based Admirals began in determined mood, with pacey winger Ed Easter making two quality runs only to be pulled down by the Essex full-back.
But it was the Eels who went ahead after 10 minutes, scoring out wide after a series of powerful runs.
The Admirals hit straight back with Glenn Ainsworth setting up impressive Grant Boxall to make a powerful run, with John Hubbleday putting former professional Steve Walker into a gap to brush off two tackles and score a try converted by Darren Smyth.
Greenwich then stretched their lead with two bursting tries from rampaging prop forwards Boxall and Lee Fortis, who crashed over after good running by full-back Tom Chapman.
But the Eels showed why many had them down as pre-match favourites with two unconverted tries before the Admirals pushed forward again.
Winger Dean Callis made one of his characteristic dashes and then Matt Howcroft beat two tackles and passed on to Glen Ainworth.
The ball went on to Walker and Mark Lawrence, who passed to Robert James to crash over for a spectacular try which left the half-time score 22-12.
In contrast to the free-scoring first 40 minutes, the second half turned into tense arm-wrestle, with Howcroft and James English outstanding in defence.
The game’s mood changed when the Eels finally did break through but Callis showed real determination to chase back and make a superb cover tackle when a try seemed certain.
Not content, Callis got up quickly and managed to slow up the next wave of the attack enough for Fortis to make a crunching tackle that snuffed out the danger.
Essex did eventually score with six minutes to go but the Admirals finished the strongest. Stringing together the move of the match, English made a strong run down the right and passing on to Smyth and Craig Lane, who swung the ball out to the left through Boxall and Walker before the ball was lost when a spectacular try seemed certain.
But the Admirals had the final word and scored again scored just two minutes later, when the backs put together another fine passing move to send Mark Lawrence over to make the win certain and send the Admirals fans wild.
Outgoing head coach Jason Henley (see story below) was delighted with a special performance against a strong team, which had beaten Luton Vipers by more than 100 points in the last round.
He said: “The lads came to the game with determination and showed what a good side they can be.
“They proved here they can beat the best sides with quality rugby, and everyone playing for each other.
“But we have to remember we have not won anything yet. We have to train hard in the week and concentrate on next week’s game away to North London Skolars.” In the London League semi-final, the Greenwich Admirals went down 52-16 to a strong West London Sharks side despite good performaces from Alan Bacon, Tony Wheeler, Darren Clancy and full-back Euan Drummond.
Head coach is wanted
ONE of the youngest and most dynamic rugby league clubs in southern England is inviting applications for the job as its new head coach.
The successful applicant will receive an annual salary and get the chance to work with some of the most talented and fun players in the Rugby League Conference.
The Eltham-based Greenwich Admirals are looking for a new head coach after Jason Henley decided to concentrate on his full-time job as South-East Service Area rugby league development manager.
The new head coach will be entitled to an annual salary of £1,000 and have the chance to work with the Admirals’ large and talented squad of players, while receiving the full backing a very forward-looking committee.
The successful applicant will need to show a proven track record of successful coaching or experience as a professional or semi-professional player, and convince the club that he or she matches the committee’s ambition to win trophies, drive the club forward at all levels and pave the way to a successful application to join National Division 3.
Henley said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for someone to come on board at an extremely exciting time for the Admirals.
“We have strong first team of experienced players and a talented second team of lads getting more experience of the game. We also have the biggest youth development scheme in London starting to provide exceptional young players for the adult sides.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch and help build an even more successful future for the Admirals. Current rugby union coaches will be considered but will need to show extensive knowledge of rugby league.” For more information or to apply for the job, email Graham Henley at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Graham Henley, 14 Mulgrave Road, Woolwich, London, SE18 5TY.