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Nottingham v London Scottish – Match Preview

Nottingham v London Scottish – Match Preview

London Scottish resume their travels this coming Sunday and head up the M1 for a tough encounter with Nottingham. Scottish will be looking to put on a better performance against the East Midlands side and secure their first away win of the season. With our two new Argentineans, Alfredo Lallane and Agustin Gosio, having spent more time at the club, the team will be looking to use their excellent skills to the full.

London Scottish resume their travels this coming Sunday and head up the M1 for a tough encounter with Nottingham. Scottish will be looking to put on a better performance against the East Midlands side and secure their first away win of the season. With our two new Argentineans, Alfredo Lallane and Agustin Gosio, having spent more time at the club, the team will be looking to use their excellent skills to the full.

The Nottingham club was established in 1877 by Alexander Birkin after returning from Rugby School where he was introduced to the sport. The Birkin family later purchased some land at Ireland Avenue in the city that would be their home until the club moved to Meadow Lane, the home of Notts County in 2006. The first changing rooms at their Ireland Avenue were built in 1929, however prior to this the players used the facilities of a pub to get changed. Due to misbehaviour by some of the players they were forced to use the stables of the pub and share a single bath for both teams after a match. The club’s heyday was in the late 1980s with a number of top international players representing the club, including Rob Andrew, Dusty Hare, Brian Moore, and Scotland’s very own Chris Gray. With the advent of the professional game, the Nottingham club’s fortunes declined and they nearly dropped into the regional leagues in the 2002/3 season. The club gained promotion back to the second tier of the game in 2003/4 and have remained at this level ever since.

MPU

With Nottingham sharing the football stadium with Notts County, they are currently only one of three clubs in the Championship which uses a stadium comparable with those clubs in the Premiership such as Saracens or Sale Sharks and therefore would meet the criteria required to achieve promotion to the top table of English club rugby. Until very recently Nottingham have faced significant financial challenges, however it is has been reported that the club has received a large injection of cash which will allow them to enhance the existing squad and put the club in a position to be challenging for promotion. The club over recent years have developed a close working relationship with Leicester Tigers, which has resulted in a good number of players being signed on dual registration from the Tigers. In addition, the club has also seen a regular flow of former experienced Tigers players to the club, which includes; winger Ayoola Erinle, prop Michael Holford, and hooker Joe Duffey. Other players of note at the Nottingham club are the Japanese Internationalist fly half James Aldridge who recently starred in the World Cup for Japan and scoring all of his countries 21 points in the 47 -21 loss to France. Scottish supporters should also look for the back row duo of Craig Hammond and Tongan Internationalist Sione Kalamafoni who also starred in the World Cup.

Nottingham have not had the best of starts to the season and apart from their excellent win last weekend against Doncaster Knights 15 – 32 the club had not won any of their previous four league fixtures, however two of these were draws against Cornish Pirates and Rotherham Titans. Scottish can take great heart from their performance against Bedford last weekend and a wayward pass ultimately proved to be the turning point in the match, when Scottish had the Blues side pressed deep in their 22 metre area defending the try line. Our own World Cup performers showed their qualities on debut and it augers well for matches and since both players have had more time to gel with the Scottish squad a better understanding will be evident on Sunday.

The “techie” Scottish supporters making trip by car should input the post code NG2 3HJ into their SatNavs , which should take you straight to the ground in the city centre. Since the game will be on a Sunday there should be parking near or around the ground, however be aware of the ticket wardens who will be eager to catch out the unaware. For the non-techies come off at junction 24 on the M1 and follow the signs for Nottingham on the A453, continuing through Clifton, pass the Trent University on your left hand side. At the next set of traffic lights, continue straight over and follow the signs for West Bridgeford. Continue along this road for two miles, at the junction turn left onto the A60. Continue over the Trent Bridge and take the first turn at the lights into Cattle Market Road, Meadow Lane Stadium will be on your right hand side. Those travelling by train from St Pancras should note that the journey will take approximately two and half hours, leaving on the hour. Alternatively, supporters can join the supporter’s coach, which will be leaving the Richmond Athletic Ground at 10.45 and returning after the game.

If you wish to take advantage of the subsidised Supporters’ Coach Travel, please email HewJo6@aol.com asap. See you all there!
 

Nottingham 33 – 31 London Scottish

Nottingham 33 – 31 London Scottish

A brilliant second half performance by Scottish saw them come within of a whisker of causing an upset after going in 23 - 6 down at half time. Second half tries from Gosio, Armitage and Pape were run in as the Scottish side fought back to leave the Nottingham faithful biting their finger nails right to the end.

A brilliant second half performance by Scottish saw them come within of a whisker of causing an upset after going in 23 – 6 down at half time. Second half tries from Gosio, Armitage and Pape were run in as the Scottish side fought back to leave the Nottingham faithful biting their finger nails right to the end.

London Scottish went into the match with a number of players in their starting XV with the three new dual registered players all making their debuts; Elliott Daly and Guy Armitage formed a new centre pairing with David Sisi packing down at Number 8 in the scrum. Nottingham kicked off and Scottish retained possession in the forwards, however as the backs passed the ball through hands a wayward pass went behind one of the oncoming Scottish backs, which gave the former England internationalist centre Erinle Ayoola the opportunity to hack the ball through. He then raced through and picked up the bouncing ball to touch down to the left of the posts. Fly half James Aldridge added the simple extras and certainly not the start Scottish had anticipated.

MPU

After 5 minutes Scottish were penalised for going over the top at a ruck just outside their 22 metre area, however Aldridge snatched at his conversion attempt with the ball missing to the left of the posts. The opening 10 minutes were certainly frantic as Scottish committed a series of unforced errors. Shortly later the Tongan international flanker Sione Kalamfoni made a great half break through the centre of the Scottish defence, but was held up as he entered the Scottish 22. The ball was re-cycled a number of times with being fed through the backs hands out to winger Mike Penn to score in the corner. Aldridge missed a difficult conversion attempt.

Scottish made their first real attack into the Nottingham half on the 13th minute, when winger Agustin Gosio made a great break down the right flank and then attempted to chip over the oncoming Nottingham defence. The covering Nottingham winger Charles Hayter managed to catch the ball and was bundled into touch. It took Scottish until the 17th minute to get on the scoreboard when fly half James Brown converted a penalty from just inside the home sides 22 metre area. The home side increased their lead again on the 20th minute when the Scottish pack was penalised for collapsing a scrum immediately in front of their posts. Full back Kieran Hallett took over the kicking duties and pushed the score out to 15 -3 in favour of the home side. The Scottish cause was further dented during the opening first half hour as they constantly kicked away possession, allowing the home side to run the ball back at them. On the 33rd minute Nottingham scored their second try of the match when the backs opened up with a fast free flowing move which eventually saw the ball being moved out to Hayter who broke through a number of poor tackles to score out wide. Hallett missed the conversion attempt.

On the 37th minute mark, Nottingham were penalised for holding onto ball at a ruck. One of the Nottingham players deliberately prevented Scottish from taking a quick penalty by kicking the ball away and the referee marched the home side a further 10 metres down the pitch into their 22 metre area. Brown converted the penalty attempt. Just before the stroke of half time Scottish were again penalised for coming in offside at a ruck and Hallett put away his conversion attempt to leave the half time score 23 – 6 in favour of the home side and deservedly so.

Scottish made the first scoring opportunity of the second half when winger Gosio made a speculative kick down field. He raced up field and caught his own kick in the Nottingham 22 metre area and cut in field. After a series of rucks the Nottingham defence gave away penalty immediately in front of their posts with Brown converting. Whatever was said to the Scottish side at half time it was clearly having an effect, as they came right back into the game on the 47th minute. Centre Guy Armitage made a great break out wide and eventually off loaded to Gosio who raced in for his second try in consecutive outings. Brown converted a difficult conversion attempt from out on the touchline to reduce the arrears further to 23 – 16. Scottish were now right back in this match and from the re-start the home side were penalised and a few minutes later the Scottish backs let rip again as the impressive Armitage broke clean through the Nottingham defence with some excellent straight running. Brown missed the conversion attempt to put Scottish within two points of the home side.

The amazing fight back continued on the 58th minute as Scottish took the lead for the first time in the match. After a period of intense pressure just outside the Nottingham 22 metre area when the ball was passed back to Brown who coolly kicked an excellent drop goal attempt to put Scottish 23 – 24 ahead. This ding dong match now looked as if it could go either way as both set of players tried to achieve the knockout punch. Scottish conceded another penalty on their 10 metre line for being offside and Hallett stepped up to put Nottingham ahead 26 – 24. The scoring sequence was far from finished, in what was now a pulsating match and on the 75th minute the Nottingham pack produced a great rolling maul close to the Scottish 22 metre area. As the maul just moved into Scottish 22 metre area the Scottish forwards peeled off the maul leaving no Scottish player in contact with the ruck, in effect placing the leading Nottingham player in an offside position, however the referee allowed play to continue and as the Scottish defence re- grouped Number 8 Alex Snow peeled off the back of the ruck to score in the corner. Hallett converted an excellent attempt which at the end of the match proved decisive which left Nottingham 33 – 24 ahead as the match moved towards its conclusion.

Not to be out done the Scottish forwards created their own rolling maul in the closing minutes of the game as they drove their counterparts back towards the Nottingham try line. As the Scottish pack pushed their hosts back second row Steve Pape emerged with the ball at the back of the ruck to dive over beneath the posts with Brown converting to leave a final score of 33 – 31. Scottish secured a losing bonus point, which had looked as remote as anything when the sides came off at the break. Who says Championship rugby is dull and boring, as this fixture produced a total of 64 points in a match which saw excellent tries from both sides in a end to end fixture.

Scottish return to home soil next Saturday on the 5th of November, when they entertain their close rivals from over the past few seasons Esher, in what promises to be a cracker of a fixture when the sparks are sure to fly. Look out for the match preview later in the week.

Guy Armitage was awarded the Jock Meikle sponsored away supporters man of the match award. 

To purchase tickets for that game, please click here.
 

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