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All Even in Epic Draw

All Even in Epic Draw

After two weeks off for the B&I Cup, The Greene King Championship came back to The Athletic Ground in South West London. On their last outings, London Scottish suffered a narrow defeat to local rivals Richmond, who stole the game in the closing minutes. Bedford Blues also suffered an agonising defeat to Cornish Pirates.

In perfect rugby conditions, the game looked set to be fast from the off as both teams hunted a win, but what followed was some of the most outrageous and spectacular attacking rugby The Athletic Ground has seen in a long time, and resulted in a 15-try monster of a game.

MPU

Ross Neal opened the scoring for London Scottish within the opening 90 seconds. From the off, Bedford moved the ball wide, but a wayward pass was scooped up by Neal who fended off three defenders to charge to the line. Jake Sharp had his kicking boots with him today, and duly added the conversion, to give Scottish a 7-0 lead.

The Blues were not about to let this game slip away from them that quickly. From the re-start, Scottish came back on the attack. The Blues defence came up quickly, and they pinched the ball… it was moved through the hands to the wing to Gallagher who had an easy run in. 4 minutes gone, Scottish 7-5 Blues.

Both teams looked to attack again. Scottish made their way to the Blues 22 and were awarded a scrum. From the back of the scrum, the ball popped out and was pinged to Mosses who stepped the last defender, a smart offload to Ingall gave hime an easy run in under the posts. Sharp added the conversion. 8 minutes played and it was Scottish 14-5 Blues.

More delightful attacking interplay from Scottish. Atkinson had the ball just inside the Blues half, a clever step created a huge gap in the Blues defence, Atkinson sprinted through, offloaded to Williams who smashed over the final defender & touch down in the corner to score.  Sharp converted again, to increase Scottish’s lead, 21-5, with only 10 minutes played.

Bedford got back into gear; Scottish were penalised at the breakdown, so Hooley put the ball into touch to allow the Blues to attack from a 5m line out. Quick ball from the line out through the hands to Williams, who bundled over the line to score. LSFC 21-12 Blues.

Scottish had the ball, and passed about in their own half, but the Blues defence was up incredibly quickly. Parton tried to kick the ball clear, but it was charged down by Gallagher, who had the easiest run in of the day. Hooley converted, 15 minutes played, LSFC 21-19 Blues.

More attacking play from the Blues, up to the Scots 5m line, they pressed & moved the ball through the hands. Phases after phase was going nowhere, but Dixon spotted a gap in the defensive line and darted through. Hooley added the two, LSFC 21-26 Blues.

Now Scottish came on the attack, they went through the phases on the halfway line… an up & under kick was collected by Uanivi under huge pressure from 4 Blues players, he offload to Mosses out of the tackle, who stepped and raced for the line to give Scottish the lead again, 28-26. That made it 8 tries in barely 20 minutes played.

Scottish had a line out just outside the Blues 22… the catch and dive didn’t move so the ball got shipped wide; Uanivi collected it, and with a couple of huge fends, powered his way to the line alone to score. It was a fantastic piece of athleticism. Sharp converted, LSFC 35-26.

The final 5 minutes was non-stop massive hits going in from Appiah, Tyas & Atkinson for Scottish and Le Bourgeious & Parili-Ocampo for the Blues.

The second half started in much the same way as the first, only the noise from the crowd was now deafening. Scottish conceded a couple of penalties in the opening minutes, easily kickable for Hooley, but the Blues wanted tries. On 43 minutes, Blues had a 5m line out… the catch & drive was effective for them this time, and rumbled towards the line. Williams was holding the ball as they went over, 35-31.

Minutes later, the Blues tried the same move again. This time, the Scots defence held, so the drive went nowhere. Dickson pinged the ball wide, into the hands of Buggae who was bundled over the line to score. Hooley converted to level the scores. 38-38.

The excitement and noise levels in the stands were fantastic, chants of “BEDFORD” and “SCOTTISH” boomed around the ground. 55 minutes played, and there had been 11 tries.

Scottish went on the hunt for a try next; under pressure from the Scottish defence, the Blues knocked on in their own 22. From the scrum that followed, the ball was sent wide, Uanivi held off the defenders to get up to the try line, but was just caught and pulled down centimetres short. The pick & go’s couldn’t get through… Alex Walker spotted the space, and sent the ball wide to Neal, who showed soft hands to pass it to Sharp, which allowed him an easy run in to the corner. Sharp converted his own kick, to give the Scots a 45-38 lead with 20 minutes to go.

Bedford were not about to let this game get away from them. The Blues snatched the ball, and raced to the Scots 22. A magical piece of footwork from Lane created space, and he raced into the corner. Hooley converted to level the scores again, 45-45.

The Scots hit straight back, from halfway, Christie carried 20m over the gain line. From the ruck, Atkinson picked up the ball & charged at the Blues… a clever offload to Alex Walker, who then powered to the try line, to give the Scots the lead back; 52-45. Three tries in four minutes. Fourteen Tries in 64 minutes.

15 minutes to go, and the Blues had to go on the hunt for a try that would get them level. The Blues had the possession and territory, but massive tackles were going in from Alex Walker, Matt Williams, Tom Parton, Joe Atkinson… on the 77th minute, the pressure eventually told. It looked to all the crowd like Matt Williams had made an incredible try-saving tackle in the corner, but the ref saw differently and sent Williams to the sin bin. From the penalty that followed, the Blues went for their reliable line-out/catch & drive… it didn’t move, but the ref saw something illegal going on. Christie went to join Williams in the sin bin, and the Blues got the penalty try… 52-52.

Scottish had to play the final 4 minutes with 13 men. The Blues had the ball, but an enormous defensive effort forced an error from them at the scrum just outside their own 22. The Scots went through the phases, but with 13 men, it was always going to be a struggle. Sharp went for the drop kick, which fizzed agonisingly close to the posts. Full Time, 52-52.

It was a breathtaking game of rugby.

London Scottish Appiah; Miller; Cringle; Mills; Uanivi; Tyas; C. Walker; Atkinson; A. Walker; Sharp; Ingall; Mosses (c); Neal; M. Williams; Parton // replacements: Austin; Christie; Waldren; Baillie; Milne; Hoadley; Lyle

Tries Neal; Ingall; M. Williams; Mosses; Uanivi; Sharp; A Walker

Conversion Sharp (x6)

Penalty Sharp

Yellow Card(s) Williams; Christie

 

Bedford Blues Parili-Ocampo; Lindsay; Penny; Taylor; Carrick-Smith; Rae; Buggae; Williams; Dickson; Hooley; Adamson; Le Bourgeious (c); Lane; Clements-Hill; Gallagher // Replacements: Edgson; McCarthy; Cooper; Onojaife; Worthington; Burns; Sheppard

Tries Gallagher (x2); Williams (x2); Dixon; Buggae; Lane

Conversion Hooley (x5)

Penalty

 

Referee

Man of the Match Tjiuee Uanivi

 

Attendance 1,280

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