The London Skolars travel to Cheltenham this weekend looking to defend an unbeaten record against the All Golds in the Regency town.
The All Golds have hosted the Skolars four times without getting the points and the closest they came was last season when Jy-Mel Coleman’s late drop goal was the difference between the sides at the end of a fascinating 80 minutes’ play.
The Skolars go into the game on the back of a poor run of form having won just one of their last five games though they have not been far away in most of those games apart from the losses to Toronto and Swinton.
It will be a quick return to Cheltenham for Skolars’ second row Lamont Bryan who played 22 times for the Golden Fern last season, scoring seven tries and Josh Allison who missed just one game in his season with the All Golds. On the other side, prop Ollie Purslow played a century of games for the Skolars before joining the All Golds for the 2015 season since when he has passed the 50 games mark for the Cheltenham-based side.
Both sides were in League 1 Cup action last weekend with the Skolars being edged out 24-20 by Oxford while the All Golds returned from the long journey to Workington with a semi final place in the bag.
The All Golds have set the bar for their performances this season with wins over Keighley and Workington but their losses to Doncaster and the league clash in Workington have seen them let themselves down.
Coach Lee Greenwood will be looking for more of the spirit that saw them recover from losing an 18-6 lead at Derwent Park to come out on top.
With Alex Gaskell and Ben Stead out injured, Greenwood juggled his resources last week and may do so again as the signing of Barrow Raiders’ halfback Josh Ward gives him options in key positions as do the loan signings of Rochdale duo halfback or hooker Jay Lobwein and prop Paddy Jones plus utility back Steven Nield who joins on loan from Oldham to get game time as he returns from an 18-month absence following a knee injury.
Graham O’Keeffe came through his first match for almost 12 months mercifully unscathed and adds depth to the pack and with Jordan Andrade and Billy Brickhill to come back, the All Golds look strong up front as they seek to end the Skolars’ run.
Kingstone Press League 1 Round 4
Sunday April 9, kick-off 3pm.
Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham.
*Concessions include UoG Staff, Military, NHS, Gloucester City FC Season Ticket Holders – proof of status will be required.