|Betfred Super League|
|Wakefield Trinity (8) 19|
|Tries: Hampshire 2, Lyne Goals: Brough 3 Drop goal: Brough|
|London Broncos (0) 10|
|Tries: Walker, Lamb Goals: Dixon|
London Broncos suffered relegation from Super League for the second time in five years as they were beaten by rivals Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue.
Danny Brough’s early penalty followed by two converted tries from Ryan Hampshire either side of the break gave Trinity a 14-0 lead.
Reece Lyne then added another try, followed by Brough’s drop goal.
Alex Walker pulled a try back late on before Brock Lamb scored with the final play but Broncos still go down.
With all four relegation-threatened teams on 20 points at the start of the evening, it was always likely to be a dramatic night, and Broncos were full of hope having twice beaten Wakefield this season.
They marked their return to Super League back in February with a 42-24 victory over Wakefield in Ealing, then then won again 42-34 at home in May, when winger Jordan Abdull ran in a joint Super League season’s best four tries on the night.
But Wakefield kept their heads and simply proved too solid.
Following Brough’s early penalty, Broncos wasted two good chances to get on the scoreboard,
Kieran Dixon pulled his attempt wide with a very kickable penalty, before the winger then failed to grab hold of an awkward lofted pass in the right corner – and the chance was gone
Trinity winger Ben Jones-Bishop, up against his old club, then knocked on trying to get on the end of Brough’s kick to the right corner
But the first try of the night came for Hampshire on 24 minutes, Brough kicking the goal for an 8-0 half-time lead.
Then four minutes into the second half Hampshire got in again at the left corner, Brough again added the extras – and it was 14-0.
On 53 minutes, Trinity added a try out wide on the right from Lyne and, although Brough this time missed the kick, the hosts still went into the final quarter with an an 18-point cushion.
Brough’s one-pointer with 13 minutes left made it safe, but Broncos typically had the final say.
Walker scored on the right and, although Dixon missed the kick, he then got it right when he improved Lamb’s last-gasp try.
London Broncos head coach Danny Ward told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:
“I’m gutted. It’s tough to take, but we’ve got to regroup, rebuild and go again.
“We’ll reflect in a few days. It’s been good and we’ve had a lot of positives. We’ll learn from it and know where we need to get better.
“Wakefield dominated the field position, ran harder than us, they defended well. We didn’t play badly, but Wakefield are a good side and shouldn’t be down here battling for survival. They just played at the right end of the field.”
Wakefield head coach Chris Chester told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:
“That was a special win. We knew what was at stake and we were fantastic from minute one to minute 80.
“Plans are already in place for next season. We’ll enjoy tonight – it’s just made me more determined to make sure we’re not in this position again next year.”
Broncos made a lot of friends
Promoted a year ago, London Broncos were most people’s favourites to go straight back down after upsetting much-fancied Toronto in the Million Pound Game. But they will be missed.
Despite their meagre support, averaging 1,500 to 2,000 home fans at their Ealing home, they have won many admirers.
Their 10 wins include those two at home against relegation rivals Wakefield, as well as one over leaders St Helens, admittedly a weakened side put out by the runaway leaders.
But Danny Ward’s ‘Band of Brothers’ have repeatedly shown a never-say die attitude.
They gave themselves real hope by winning at both Catalans and last week at Hull KR. And the fact that they still had the character to score twice in the final 10 minutes said much.
Wakefield: Escare; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Atkins, Hampshire; Miller, Brough; Kopczak, Randell, Tangata, Kirmond, Tanginoa, Crowther.
Interchanges: Wood, Green, King, Arundel.
London Broncos: Walker; Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Lamb; Battye, Cunningham, Butler, Gee, Pitts, Yates.
Interchanges: Fozard, Mason, Hindmarsh, Lovell.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).