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Narrow Defeat Breaks Scottish Hearts

Narrow Defeat Breaks Scottish Hearts

Danny Kenny of London Scottish (right) is sent off for a high tackle during the Greene King IPA Championship match between London Scottish Football Club and Hartpury RFC at Richmond Athletic Ground, Richmond, United Kingdom on 28 October 2017. Photo by David Horn.

Back to Championship rugby at The Athletic Ground this week, after a two-week hiatus for the B&I Cup. London Scottish’s last outing was a positive performance away. against league leaders Bristol, so the team were keen to build on that performance at home.

On a very sunny and dry, but still very chilly, afternoon in South West London, both teams were looking to attack in the opening stages of the game in front of the largest crowd Scottish have had at home this season. Scottish had all the possession in the opening 5 minutes, but it was Hartpury who drew first blood… out of nothing and against the run of play, the ball found itself in the hands of Eves, who had all the time & space to score in the corner at a canter.

MPU

Scottish piled the pressure onto Hartpury from then on; attacking through the middle with Mills, Eliet & Atkinson smashing huge holes in the Hartpury defence; and repeatedly getting over the gain line. Ross Neal, Charlie Ingall and Rob Stevenson also made their presence felt on the wings, dancing around the defence, and making huge meters.

Scottish played a lot of the second half deep inside Hartpury territory… after sustained pressure 5m from the tryline, Sharp broke free to touch down, but the referee decided he was not in control of the ball. Scottish didn’t relent, and continued to attack.

After 30 minutes, Hartpury gave away a cheap penalty on the 22, and Sharp stepped up to put Scottish on the board.

Against the run of play, Hartpury found themselves in the Scottish 22; the Scottish defence put in some massive hits to prevent Hartpury moving any closer. Scottish eventually gave away a penalty, and Perry just took the points rather than looking to go to the corner.

As time in the first half ran out, Scottish attacked again; going through the phases and moving the ball across the pitch. The sustained pressure forced a penalty from Hartpury, so Sharp stepped up again to put the ball between the posts. Halftime score, LSFC 6-10 Hartpury.

The second half began with a bang, more Scottish pressure forced Hartpury to defend on their try line again; Hoadley went for the pick & go, and landed over the line. Sharp added the conversion, to give Scottish a 13-10 lead inside the opening 4 minutes.

Almost the entire next 25 minutes were spent inside Hartpury territory. Phases were strung together, from one side of the pitch to the other, constantly forcing Hartpury back into their 22, but that killer final score would just not come. A huge defensive effort from an exhausted Hartpury defence kept them in the game.

What may be looked back on as a critical turning point, as Hartpury looked to escape their 22 on the 66 minute mark, substitute Danny Kenny flung out an arm that caught Sheldon square in the face. After a quick consultation with his assistant, Greg Macdonald reached for the red card.

The final ten minutes were set-up to be fast and frantic. Hartpury looked to exploit their extra man, but Scottish maintained their pressure, and continued to keep Hartpury in their own half. With seconds to go, Scottish won a scrum under the Hartpury posts… despite Hartpury being repeatedly pushed back, the referee saw no reason to award a penalty try. After the 4th scrum, Scottish tried to work the ball wide, but knocked on in the tackle, allowing Hartpury one final stab at an attack.

From this flash-point, and after the 80 minutes was up, Hartpury attacked and raced forward through the Scottish defence; the scramble defence held Hartpury up just millimetres from the line… With the extra man, Hartpury had the overlap, and worked the ball wide to Wilcox who darted for the line, to win the game LSFC 13-15 Hartpury.

London Scottish Harris; Miller; Cringle; Mills (c); Uanivi; Baillie; Atkinson; Eliet; Hoadley; Sharp; Scott; Mosses; Neal; Stevenson; Ingall // Replacements: George; Appiah; Waldren; Gillanders; Kenny; Barton; Lyle

Tries Hoadley

Conversion Sharp

Penalty Sharp (x2)

Hartpury College RFC Wilcox; Creed; Boulton; Eves; Sheldon; Perry; Cochrane; Murphy; Tanner; Harden; Quinn; Oakley (c); Langley; Gilbert; Dyer // Replacements Walker; Flook; Seville; Dancer; Safe; Chapman; Williams

Tries Eves; Wilcox

Conversion Perry

Penalty Perry

 

Referee Greg Macdonald

Attendance 956

Man of the Match Ben Mosses

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