The CZRLA West team, made up of players from the Prague & Beroun clubs, as well as Chrudim, are the 2011 Czech Representative Champions. West, with the majority of their players coming from the 2010 CZRLA champion team & 2010 league leaders at the midway point in the 2011 domestic season – Beroun Black Panthers – scored the 1st 3 tries of the match, all by Jan Buben, & looked as though they were on course to dominate the match, much as Beroun have done throughout most of their matches this season. However CZRLA East, made up of players from the Pardubice Jets & Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels, hit back with 3 unconverted tries of their own before half-time ensuring that at the break the only difference between the teams was a late try for West by Beroun captain-coach David Dolak, & 2 conversions from Buben.
The 2nd half showcased some of the best domestic Rugby League played in the history of Czech Rugby League as 500 supporters – most of them there to cheer on the healthy contingent of Mad Squirrels playing on their home turf – watched some bruising defence complimented by some marvelous ball movement from both teams. East skipper, Victor Leeuw, was dazzling as he repeatedly weaved his way through the defence, while prop Ales Trcka continually plowed up-field with no concern for his own health, and 2nd rowers Roman Nedomlel & Marcel Novak continued the rich vein of tackle busting form they have been enjoying for their respective clubs during the 2011 domestic season. For West, apart from team leaders Dolak, Buben & Ben Grimwade, Jamie Sherrington showed several touches of class, Michal Hora in only his 2nd game of the 2011 season after off-season shoulder surgery was impressive in the unfamiliar centre position, Vlada Sapar was a constant menace from the wing & Patrik Nekut was magnificent with some huge hits in defence & a constant ability to time his runs into gaps in the defence which gained West plenty of ideal field position.
By the end, 2nd half tries from Hora, Sherrington, Dolak, and Matej Pecina – with Marek Pluhar, one of the 2 Chrudim Angels young-guns who have been so impressive as rookie rugby league players this season – was enough to ensure that, despite a strong, barging try under the posts from Nedomlel & an impressive weaving effort from the slick Standa Kosar, West secured the win. The CZRLA domestic season now takes a break, in the lead-up to the historic international against Hungary in July. RLEF Czech Development Manager & National Team Coach, Andrew Mulhall, is looking forward to the match. “The Euro Bowl clash with our near neighbours this year, is a unique opportunity to measure the level of Rugby League development taking place not only in the Czech Republic, but in Europe generally. The Czech national Rugby League team is made up of players who play in a legitimate domestic rugby league competition which runs over a 7 month period with breaks only for the extremes of summer & winter. The team which will play against Hungary, as with the team which was so mismatched against Germany in the 2010 Euro Shield clash, are almost all young men who have only ever played the League code of rugby in the local domestic competition, and are truly the vanguard of a new era in European Rugby League development in which the sport is played not as a series of off-season friendlies by rugby union players, but as a vibrant, stand-alone sport which only needs to gain greater exposure, as it is gradually doing in the Czech Republic, to carve out a more significant niche for itself in the global panorama of sports.”
CZRLA West: 36 (Jan Buben 3, David Dolak 2, Matěj Pecina, Michal Hora, Jamie Sherrington tries, Jan Buben 2 goals) CZRLA East: 24 (Radek Mejznar, Tomáš Kynský, Martin Kulhánek, Roman Nedomlel, Standa Kosař, Victor Leeuw 2 goals)
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