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It’s a family affair as Thormans prepare for brother of all battles

16:27 16 February 2011

Skolars' Neil Thorman

Skolars' Neil Thorman

Max Flego Sports Photography

IT TENDS to be a big day for the Thorman family when London Skolars meet York City Knights, and this weekend’s Northern Rail Cup clash is no different.

Skolars will be captained by Neil Thorman, who has followed in his brother Paul’s footsteps by taking the armband at New River.

Meanwhile, the visiting Knights will be skippered by Chris Thorman – the eldest of the three – who has previously played for Huddersfield and Hull FC.

It is certainly not the first time that the Thorman brothers have met on the field.

All three started their rugby league careers at Newcastle Eagles, and Paul and Neil were both at Gateshead Thunder when they faced Chris’s Huddersfield in 2002.

Then, last February, Paul and Chris met on opposite sides in the Co-Operative Championship 1, with Paul captaining the Skolars against York, who were skippered by Chris.

The two sides met again four months later and, while Chris was not playing, Paul made his 100th Skolars appearance alongside Neil, who had joined the north Londoners the previous month.

It was a momentous occasion for 28-year-old Paul, Skolars’ all-time record point scorer, who has amassed over 400 points for the team and is currently concentrating on his off-field role as the club’s community development manager.

Neil, 26, has taken the armband under new coach Joe Mbu, and on Sunday he will lead his side out against 30-year-old Chris, who has scored over 1,000 rugby league points and – like Paul and Neil – kicks the goals for his club.

It promises to be an engaging sub-plot at New River Stadium, as Skolars bid to recover from back-to-back defeats in the Northern Rail Cup thus far.

Mbu’s side suffered a 62-18 defeat against 2009 winners and 2010 finalists Widnes Vikings, before going down 32-4 at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday.

The victorious hosts enjoyed the early stages of the game as Skolars struggled to gain possession, and Chris Spurr opened the scoring, finishing a quick passing move after Skolars conceded a penalty close to their line and level the match at 4-4.

Skolars scored what proved to be their only try from their first real attack of the game, with Tony Williams drawing the defence in before offloading to Dylan Skee, who got the ball out for Dave Arnot to touch down.

The visitors worked hard in defence but conceded two tries before half-time, Liam Crawley pushing over before Scott Spaven slipped through a gap to score.

Skolars were only 12 points down at half-time and they played with more grit after the restart, nearly narrowing the gap with another score.

After a strong run by Saqib Murtza, a long Skee kick was chased down by Arnot but the ball just rolled dead.

The Scottish international was then harshly deemed to have delayed the restart and was sin-binned, giving the Dons a numerical advantage which produced two tries in seven minutes from Jack Ely.

The final quarter of the game was a dour affair with the only score coming from a converted Kyle Kesik try.

London Skolars: Anthony, Junor, Arnot, May, Adebisi, Skee, Thorman, Williams, Honor, Hart, Thomas, Samson, Bolger. Subs: Aggrey, Murtza, Gee, Ball.

SKOLARS have been drawn at home in the third round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup, and will host Cumbrian amateur side Egremont Rangers on the

weekend on March 5.

While making it to the Wembley final in August may be little more than a dream, a win could set up a game against Super League

opposition in the next round – something Skolars have done on three previous occasions.

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