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Lacklustre first half costs Scottish once again

Lacklustre first half costs Scottish once again

Photo Credit: Chud Photography

After a tricky two weeks for the Exiles, they headed to Lady Bay for a Friday night clash with Nottingham in an upbeat mood after an impressive second half showing the previous week against Ealing Trailfinders.

Considering the tight result with the Trailfinders, Nic Rouse only made a couple of changes to his starting XV with Jordan Brodley and Rob Stevenson both coming in to start.

It was a wet and greasy evening at Lady Bay as the rain poured intermittently throughout the game. This game was going to be an attritional affair in the damp conditions.

The first 20 minutes did not go to script as Sottish once again started far too slowly and allowed Nottingham to control the possession and territory. Couple this with Nottingham’s intensity and some lacklustre Scottish tackling and it was quickly 19-0.

Nottingham’s first try came from a slick backs move. They gathered an attacking lineout in the Scottish 22 and ran a clever deception play leaving Billy Robinson with a gaping hole which we cantered through and under the posts for the first score of the game. Shane O’Leary slotted the easy conversion. 7-0 to the Green N Whites.

Straight from kick off, the Exiles were on the back foot again and found themselves camped in their own 22 once again. After some sustained pressure and strong goal line defence from Scottish, the pressure finally told as Nottingham winger David Williams pierced a hole out wide to score. O’Leary’s conversion hits the post, 12-0 Nottingham.

As Scottish continued to find their feet in the opening exchanges Nottingham were once again on the charge capitalising on Scottish’s poor ball control and cheap and needless penalties. Nottingham were on the charge in the Exiles 22 and after a few minutes of forwards play they managed to force their way through for their third score. Nottingham fly half Shane O’Leary added the extras making it 19-0 to Nottingham within 20 minutes.

MPU

It was only after three tries and 20 minutes that Scottish finally started to play and show just how dangerous they can be when they put phases together. They controlled the second 20 minutes of the game yet could not sneak over the Nottingham try line. Much to the players’ frustrations.

As the first half was coming to a close, two soft Scottish penalties meant Nottingham kicked to the corner and much like the opening 20 minutes, Scottish were camped on their own line looking to keep the score at 19-0. Unfortunately, the Nottingham forwards once again got rolling and forced their way through for their bonus point score. O’Leary slotted the simple conversion and the score was 26-0 to Nottingham.

That is how the half ended. Nottingham 26 – 0 London Scottish. Improvements were needed and quickly.

As the second half begun with the northern drizzle still falling, there was a confidence and reinvigorated tone about the Exiles. They were looking to pull off a comeback and replicate what they had done to the Trailfinders the week before.

After 5 minutes of abrasive rugby as both sides looked to assert their second half dominance, another soft penalty was awarded to Nottingham. O’Leary took the 3 points and made the score 29-0 to Nottingham.

From here on it was all Scottish, they totally controlled proceedings for the final 35 minutes.

Their comeback was started with a score from winger Rob Stevenson. Scottish were exploiting Nottingham’s ill-discipline and pinning them in their own 22. After some strong carries from the forwards, the ball was worked wide to Stevenson, who shrugged off 4 Nottingham defenders to force his way over the line. Jennings just pushed the conversion. Nottingham 29 – 5 Scottish.

The second try was similar to the first but this time the forwards took the plaudits. Another driving maul was set up in the Nottingham 22 and after some impressive pick & go’s close to the line Billy Harding squirmed his way over for Scottish’s second score and his second score in as many weeks. Jennings nailed the tough conversion. 29-12.

Scottish once again had their tails up and were dominating the game, Lady Bay had gone quiet as everyone sensed Scottish were surging.

As the 70th minute rolled round Scottish were on the attack once again, strong carries from Uanivi and Mosses took Scottish within touching distance of another score. Second half replacement hooker Harding broke through a ruck and ran to the try line from the Nottingham 22, beating two defenders on his way yet as he reached out to finish off what would have been an impressive solo try he lost the ball forward, Nottingham were allowed to clear their lines and Scottish missed a golden opportunity.

Minutes later Scottish were pressing yet again and after countless Nottingham penalties at the maul, they were reduced to 14 men. As another yet penalty was awarded, skipper Mark Bright scooped up the ball and darted to the line from a quick tap. Scottish had their third try. Jennings added the conversion. 29-19.

Sadly it was all too little too late for Scottish, they had let the game slip away in the first half. The London Scottish coaches will be disappointed with the result especially seeing as they would have been targeting this game to kickstart the Scottish season.

Final Score: Nottingham 29 – 19 London Scottish

London Scottish: Brodley; Austin; Cringle; Hodge; Uanivi; Tyas; Wynne; Bright (c); Hart; Perry; Stevenson; Jennings; Vernon; Ingall; Smith // Replacements: Harding; Harris; Palframan; Frost; Hoadley; Mosses; Duncan
Tries: Stevenson; Harding; Bright
Conversions: Jennings x2

Nottingham: Penman; Cole; Daniels; Cardall; Cecil; Buckley; Owen; Poullet; Veenendaal ©; O’Leary; Robinson; Peters; Millet; Williams; Scanlon // Replacements: Brownlie; Jack; Burke; Onojafie; Cox; McConnell; Lyons
Tries: Robinson; Williams; Owen; Poullet
Conversions: O’Leary  (x3)
Penalty: O’Leary

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