Broncos v Dragons match report
London Broncos (4) 22
T : Mason Caton-Brown 2, Nesiasi Mataitonga, Denny Solomona
G : Josh Drinkwater 3
Catalans Dragons (18) 28
T : Michael Oldfield, Zeb Taia, William Barthau, Eloi Pelissier, Vincent Duport
G : Thomas Bosc 4
Barthau scored one try, created another and provided guile throughout as the French side held off a late rally, having been 28-4 ahead with just 12 minutes to play.The hosts made two changes for the clash, winger James Duckworth returning after six weeks out with a hamstring injury, along with Nick Slyney, with Jon Wallace and Jamie O'Callaghan stepping aside.
The Dragons also made a brace of switches, Mathias Pala and Barthau replacing Daryl Millard and Leon Pryce.London entered the contest still searching for their first win of the season, and were on the receiving end of a 40-24 defeat to the French side in a Tetley's Challenge Cup clash two weeks ago.
The visitors were soon in their stride tonight, winger Michael Oldfield darting in at the corner after Morgan Escare had twisted the Broncos defence inside and out on eight minutes.The Londoners were showing plenty of grit, but a combination of handling errors and solid Catalan defence were keeping them at bay, Mason Caton-Brown being bundled into touch inches from the Dragons' line by a posse of French players four minutes later.
The Broncos were proving pretty solid in defence themselves but were being pinned back by waves of Catalan pressure, conceding a series of goal-line drop-outs in the process.That pressure finally counted though on 27 minutes, Zeb Taia muscling his way over from close range after Escare had wriggled free, Thomas Bosc again converting for a 12-0 advantage.
Minutes later the visitors added their third score, Barthau romping through a huge gap in the London defence to touch down at the posts.The men from the capital finally got on the board as the opening half came to a close, Caton-Brown surging over after good work from James Cunningham.
London who came out brighter after the break, but despite spending the first five minutes camped in the Dragons half, they were unable to add a second score.Having weathered that storm, the Catalans showed how it should be done on 48 minutes, seemingly sealing the points when Eloi Pelissier stormed over from dummy-half.
To their credit the Broncos did keep on pushing, but their attacking efforts were showing precious little in the way of creativity or guile, Atelea Vea spilling the ball close to the line on one foray forward.In truth though the Dragons were still bossing the contest, Jeff Lima having a try chalked off for a forward pass when he cantered over on the hour-mark.
But a fifth try did come on 65 minutes, Vincent Duport brushing off a host of would-be tacklers to squeeze in at the corner.London did flicker into life once more after that, Caton-Brown showing great pace to sear home from half way on 68 minutes, with Nesi Mataitonga adding a further Broncos try four minutes later after the Dragons fumbled a Ben Farrar grubber.
In a frantic finale there was still time for a fourth London score as Denny Solomona crossed in the corner - but it proved mere consolation.