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Historic Scots stun Nottingham to secure play-off spot

Historic Scots stun Nottingham to secure play-off spot

London Scottish secured an historic and breathless 34-29 win over Nottingham Rugby this afternoon which confirmed their place in the Greene King IPA Championship play-offs for the very first time.

London Scottish secured an historic and breathless 34-29 win over Nottingham Rugby this afternoon which confirmed their place in the Greene King IPA Championship play-offs for the very first time.

As is customary with any Scottish sporting team, they did it the hard way, conceding a try in the opening two minutes of the game and going in at the break 12 points behind.


But a remarkable, absorbing and truly memorable second half saw Scottish recover to seal an emotional victory in sun-baked Richmond, Kiwi Kieran Moffat scoring the winning try with five minutes remaining – the tenth try of the afternoon.


Seven promotions in 11 seasons has brought the Scots back up to English rugby's second tier and in the fourth Championship campaign, qualification for the semi-finals has been achieved.

Today’s victory means the Scots cannot be caught in third place and also noteworthy is the fact they have never been outside the top four since round one of the campaign.

With Worcester Warriors and Bristol Rugby confirmed as the top two in the table, Scottish's semi-final opponents next month will probably be decided on the final day of the regular season when the two club’s face-off.

This game got off to a remarkable start with both sides scoring tries inside three minutes.

First Nottingham hooker Shaun Malton, who will be playing his rugby at Premiership Exeter next season, split the Scots defence in two to score unopposed under the sticks from 20 metres out.

Will Maisey kicked the extras then seconds later Peter Lydon gathered his own up and under to cross the white line for the hosts.

In the swirling wind, Lydon’s conversion drifted wide.

The Exiles conceded three penalties in the opening ten minutes and their indiscipline allowed Maisey to push Martin Haags’ side 10-5 ahead.

Full-back Lee Millar then seemed destined to score for the Scots on 16 minutes after a neat break but looked for a pass a metre from the line which went astray when he appeared certain to go over himself.

They didn’t need to wait long for their second try however midway through the half.

Millar was again the architect, picking up a loose ball and breaking the first line of defence.

This time he was held up about 10 metres short of the line but scrum half Jamie Stevenson quickly recycled ball, feeding Lydon who played in man of the match Matt Williams for the try.

The Scots then found themselves guilty of turning ball over in a dangerous area, winger Williams becoming isolated allowing Nottingham to move the ball through their hands before hooker Malton went over for his second try in the left corner.

Maisey’s kick was wide but Nottingham were now five points to the good once again.

It got even better for Nottingham when they took advantage of another Scots error.

This time the hosts lost the ball against the head in a scrum and when the ball was swiftly shipped out the back division, full-back Billy Robinson broke through to score Nottingham’s third try.

Maisey’s kick was successful and they now had a commanding 22-10 lead at the break.

Scottish needed to start the second 40 strongly and they pressed hard initially before coughing up possession again which allowed Nottingham to break quickly, only to be penalised right on the Exiles line.

It proved a huge moment in the game and the season as Scottish went up the other end to score their third try on 49 minutes.

It came from the not too unfamiliar driving maul, a powerful thrust from the pack seeing Mark Bright dive over for his 23 try of the league campaign.

The tricky conversion from the right corner was wide from Lydon but it was now a seven point game.

Bright was not finished and he claimed his brace on the hour mark again from an outstanding driving maul, the number eight crashing over to secure the try bonus point.

Lydon’s kick was good and we were all square at 22-22.

Moments later Scottish had the lead.

A stunning individual try was scored by Aussie centre Matt Hawke who showed power and pace to sprint in from near half way after good build-up play by Bright and Miles Mantella.

His try under the posts gave Lydon an easy two points and suddenly from 12 points down, Scottish were now seven points ahead at 29-22.

The lead lasted just three minutes however, Will Maisey taking advantage of more slack home defence to glide in under the posts.

The fly half kicked his own conversion to level matters up, 29 apiece.

This astonishing encounter had the fans on their feet throughout the second half and a tense finish fittingly had a dramatic denouement with Kieran Moffat going over for the winning try after good work by flanker Chris Walker.

Reaction: Matt Williams & Mike Friday savour play-off clinching win, click here.

Fantastic pictures from Saturday's win can be viewed, here.

The Scots now travel to Yorkshire Carnegie next Saturday, April 18, 3pm kick-off before the play-offs begin in May.

The dates of the potential semi-final matches are below.

In the event we play Bristol Rugby.

First leg away on Saturday, May 2, 1.30pm kick-off. Ashton Gate Stadium.

Second leg at home Sunday, May 10, 1.45pm kick-off.

In the event we play Worcester Warriors

First leg at home Saturday May 2, 1.45pm kick-off.

Second leg away on Friday, May 8, 7.45pm kick-off. Sixways Stadium.

Full details on match tickets and hospitality packages will be posted online soon.

London Scottish:
15, Lee Millar, 14, Matt Williams, 13, Kieran Moffat, 12, Matt Hawke, 11, Miles Mantella, 10, Peter Lydon, 9, Jamie Stevenson, 1. James Hallam (replaced by D’Arcy Rae), 2, Adam Kwasnicki, 3, Ben Prescott (replaced by Mark Lilley), 4, James Phillips, 5, Josh Thomas Brown (replaced by Adam Preocanin), 6, Neil Best (replaced by James Chisholm), 7, Chris Walker, 8, Mark Bright (c).
16, Mark Lilley, 17, D’Arcy Rae, 18, Lovejoy Chawatama, 19, Adam Preocanin, 20, James Chisholm, 21, Matt Heeks, 22, Mike Doneghan.

Tries: Peter Lydon (3 minutes) Matt Williams (21 minutes) Mark Bright (49, 58 minutes) Matt Hawke (61 minutes) Kieran Moffat (75 minutes).

Conversions: Peter Lydon (59, 62 minutes)
Nottingham Rugby:
15) Billy Robinson 14) Edward Styles 13) Heath Stevens 12) Javiah Pohe 11) Pils Iongi 10) Will Maisey 9) Sean Romans 1) George Porter (replaced by Campese Ma’afu) 2) Shaun Malton (replaced by Michael Holford) 3) Conor Carey (replaced by Jonathan Vickers) 4) Toby Freeman 5) Tom Price 6) Rupert Cooper 7) Tom Calladine 8) Paul Grant (c).
16) Campese Ma’afu 17) Michael Holford 18) Jonathan Vickers 19) Kiefer Laxton 20) Matt Everard 21) Alex Smit 22) Dan Mugford

Tries: Shaun Malton (1, 26 minutes) Billy Robinson (33 minutes) Will Maisey (64 minutes)

Conversions: Will Maisey (1, 34, 65 minutes)

Penalties: Will Maisey (10 minutes)

Referee: Dean Richards

Assistant Referees: Clare Daniels & Jonathan Healy

Fourth Official: Alexis Manley
MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Williams

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