Christopher Wilson at the New River Stadium


The Bristol All Golds ran out comfortable 54-16 winners over a youthful Skolars side still looking for their first win in their debut season in the Southern Conference League.

The All Golds scored nine converted tries in total with two from Callum Merrett and one each from Brandon Lamb and man of the match Tom Baxter giving them a 24-0 interval advantage. Three scores in the opening six minutes of the second half from Sol Platt, Mason Ball and Leon Atherton extended the lead to 42-0 and ensured the win.

The Skolars scored three tries themselves in the second period, but two final All Golds touchdowns from Atherton and Brandon Ball sealed the win. Darrion Ball was perfect from the tee ensuring all three unrelated Balls scored points.


The Bristol All Golds made the best response possible to last week’s narrow loss to London Chargers with a nine-try demolition of a young and inexperienced London Skolars side still searching for its first win of the season.

All three (unrelated) Balls scored points for the All Golds with Brandon and Mason collecting tries and Darrion enjoying a perfect day with the boot with nine conversions.

Having left the semi-professional ranks at the end of the 2023 season, the Skolars are rebuilding in the Southern Conference League. However, having lost most of their experienced players, they are having to bring through young players with little game time at this level, and their results this season have seen a number of heavy defeats. 

In saying that, they worked hard and were still going forward at the end of the game having scored three good tries and could certainly hold their heads high.

Given the state of their opponents, the All Golds were expected to put up a big score, but they didn’t have things all their own way as the young Skolars made them work for their points throughout an entertaining game played in warm conditions.

It seemed all too easy for the All Golds when, after three minutes, the ball was shifted wide and Brandon Lamb raced away from the halfway line for the opening try, goaled by Darrion Ball.

However, the next 20 minutes were rather disappointing with errors and penalties breaking up play and neither side being able to get structure to their game.

All that changed when, after 20 minutes, the All Golds made their prop rotation. Skolars stand-off, Shay Flanagan badly shanked a midfield bomb and Callum Merrett picked up the loose ball and weaved his way through the Skolars defenders to score under the posts.

From the restart, fresh from the bench, Tom Baxter produced an unstoppable charge from midway inside his own half to outpace the entire Skolars side and score by the sticks.

The All Golds had to wait until the final play of the half for their next score as Merrett snatched a trademark interception and ran in from the halfway line.

Darrion Ball’s four goals gave the All Golds a healthy 24-0 halftime lead. Despite this, the side had looked tentative during the half particularly in attack but all that changed in the opening minutes of the second period.

It took barely 30 seconds for Adam Turner to find a huge hole behind the ruck and race away to draw the full-back and send Sol Platt over for his first try for the club.

From the restart Leon Atherton broke through in midfield and had the pace to race all the way to the line for his first try of the game. The All Golds’ made it three from three possessions as their next attack ended with Darrion Ball firing a superb pass to Mason Ball who ran a superb line to cross untouched.

During those six minutes of incisive attacking play, the Skolars touched the ball only to restart play.

Leading 42-0, the All Golds’ fire died down a little and Rodell Reid scored a consolation try from a tap penalty close to the visitors’ line, Flanagan adding the goal.

Atherton replied with his second try, scorching down the wing to score out wide before Brandon Ball beat three team-mates to a bouncing ball after Greg Hamilton’s steepling bomb had comprehensively beaten the Skolars’ full-back. Darrion Ball’s goal took the score to 54-6 but the Skolars kept plugging away and deservedly had the final word with two late tries.

Flanagan crossed for the first straight from a scrum before Joshua Adebayo collected a clever Flanagan kick and bumped off Lamb to touch down with six minutes remaining

The All Golds almost ended the game with another try as Harry Mills forced his way over the line but lost the ball trying to touch down.

The All Golds were happy to secure their third win of the season but face a stern test when Hammersmith Hills Hoists visit Oaklands Park next week. The Hoists are unbeaten this season and have nilled their opponents in four of their seven games so far.



SKOLARS: Noah Brooks; James Heathcote, Orson Fairlamb, Joshua Adebayo, Jason Dellar; Shay Flanagan, Nika Kardooni; Rodell Reid, David Bofenda, Alexander Ofulue; Scott Price, Akintokunbo Adebayo; Joe Mbu; INTERCHANGE: George Dellar, Nicolo Motta, Oliver Yates, Odysseas Georgiou.


Tries: Reid (52), Flanagan (70), J. Adebayo (74)

Goals: Flanagan 2 from 3.

ALL GOLDS: Darrion Ball; Dom Williams, Brandon Lamb (Capt.), Mason Ball, Leon Atherton; Greg Hamilton, Callum Merrett; Ed Tait, Adam Turner, Oghenetega Rume-Tabiowo; Morgan Lewis, Harry Mills; Jack Uren; INTERCHANGE: Sol Platt, Tom Baxter, Brandon Ball, Kieran Harvey.


Tries: Lamb (3), Merrett (20, 39), Baxter (22), Platt (41), Atherton (43, 56), M. Ball (46), B. Ball (60)

Goals: D. Ball 9 from 9.

Scoring sequence: 0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 0-24, (HT) 0-30, 0-36, 0-42, 6-42, 6-48, 6-54, 10-54, 16-54, (FT)

Penalties: Skolars 6-5 All Golds

Referee: Paul Cunningham (RFL)

All Golds Player of the Match: Tom Baxter’s superb long-range try sealed the honour added to a fine all-round display in attack and defence which galvanised his side as soon as he came on as a replacement.