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Saturday 17th May 2014, 12:30 - Round:13
|Mason Caton-Brown 2, James Greenwood, Josh Drinkwater,||T||Vincent Duport, Elliott Whitehead 2, Jeff Lima,|
Josh Drinkwater 3,
Thomas Bosc 4,
Attendance: 36,339 Official: M Thomason Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Josh Drinkwater's failed conversion of his own try denied London Broncos what would have been a first point of the 2014 season as they lost the Magic Weekend opener 24-22 to Catalan Dragons.
The scrum-half's show-and-go score with seven minutes left had looked set to bring his side level for a second time but he was unable to nail the conversion from just to the right of the posts.
It was rough justice on Drinkwater and London, who had looked set to finally break their duck for the season at the 13th time of asking.
They trailed 18-6 and 24-18 during the afternoon and new coach Joe Grima will surely feel - like many of the neutrals inside the Etihad Stadium did - that they deserved more.
Nothing was what they got, though, which belied their performance.
Despite their own wretched form and a 10-game losing run against the Catalans going against them, London battled manfully early on and managed to more than hold their own before scoring the first try.
After a series of close calls, near-misses and handling errors, full-back Ben Farrar arrived into the attacking line at the perfect moment before standing a ball up for the onrushing Mason Caton-Brown who did the rest. Drinkwater converted from wide out.
Catalan tried to respond but Leon Pryce saw his pass after a break tapped down - typical of his side's opening to the game - but they found the right combination to get on the board eight minutes before the break.
A Thomas Bosc kick was gathered by Vincent Duport who clung on to mark his 100th First Utility Super League appearance with a try. Bosc's conversion levelled the scores.
Catalan did not necessarily deserve to be level and were even more fortunate to find themselves ahead at the break. Normally Elliott Whitehead's attempted offload would have gone to ground but, with two minutes of the half left, it hit a defender's body and rebounded back to him with the line open.
London should have hit back eight minutes after the break but poor play from centre Thomas Minns robbed them of the chance. He broke through and had a simple overlap pass to Denny Solomona. He chose instead to go himself and was shut down.
Zeb Taia then did the same thing at the other end as the quality continued to remain well below average, before Catalan got a third with Jeff Lima's first try for the club, the former Wigan Warriors man going over the top of Farrar from close range.
It appeared as though London were done for at that stage, but Caton-Brown gave them a puncher's chance of a comeback with a strong run with 16 minutes left and just after that James Greenwood showed great courage to drag himself over. Drinkwater converted both to bring the scores together at 18-all.
London had the majority of the neutrals on their side at this point but that could not help them as Catalan decided to turn it up a notch again, with Michael Oldfield going clear down the right and passing inside to the supporting Whitehead.
It then appeared as though momentum was back with London as Drinkwater threw a dummy and then slipped through the gap it created, only for his poor conversion attempt to undo his good work.