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Scottish End Season With Bonus Point Defeat To Titans

Scottish End Season With Bonus Point Defeat To Titans

London Scottish brought the curtain down on their 2012-13 season with a 33-26 defeat to Rotherham Titans, securing a losing bonus point with the last play of the game.

London Scottish brought the curtain down on their 2012-13 season with a 33-26 defeat to Rotherham Titans, securing a losing bonus point with the last play of the game.

Scottish were outscored by their hosts by four tries to three in an open game with plenty of attacking intent on display from both sides.


The visitors found themselves 13-0 down in the first half before tries from Miles Mantella and Jim Thompson hauled them back into contention before the break. The scores were briefly level in the second period but a flurry of Rotherham tries took away the game from Scottish and they were reliant on a last-gasp try and conversion to grab themselves a consolation bonus point.

A glorious sun-drenched Clifton Lane awaited the players as they ran out before kick-off – some relief for the Scottish side, surely, after the appalling rain and snow suffered both home and away in recent games. The visitors showed the first sign of attacking intent, as Jamie Stevenson found Tommy Spinks off a short pass and the young flanker galloped into Titans territory. He managed to get the pass inside to Sam Twomey but the ball was knocked on and Rotherham soon had the first points of the afternoon, James McKinney scoring a simple penalty after a high tackle.

PJ Gidlow and Oli Grove then combined to send Mantella away down the left wing and after he was hauled down, the home side were also penalised for a high tackle. Love's kick, however, missed the target and, though Thompson managed to ghost through two tackles on his way to making 40 metres in a scintillating run, it was the Titans who then scored game's first try. 

Twomey was sin-binned for entering the ruck at the side and, whilst the visitors were down to 14 men, Rotherham's Laurence Pearce bundled his way over after a well worked lineout. McKinney then extended the lead further, first with his conversion and then with a penalty kick from 40 metres out.

Scottish fortunes were soon to change, however, as Gidlow put in a colossal tackle in midfield, the ball was loose and Scottish worked it wide for Mantella to coast over the line in the left corner, his 7th RFU Championship try of the season.

Injured hooker Harry Allen was replaced by Gerard Ellis as the half drifted to a close and Scottish soon had a second try. After Phil Godman had kicked deep into Rotherham's half from a penalty, Scottish retained possession from the lineout and, after several phases, the backline combined superbly to put Thompson over in the right corner. Love, as he had with Mantella' try, missed a difficult conversion from out wide but the half time score of 13-10 was a much healthier one than it had been looking previously.

An penalty from right in front of the posts for Love brought the scores level early in the second half but, just as it looked as if Scottish were taking control of the game, Rotherham pounced through winger Curtis Wilson, who stepped his way through three tackles and burned his way to the line.

The Titans introduced the giant Pale Nonu to their midfield and the crowd winced in unison as he quickly collided with Scottish's own midfield wrecking ball Gidlow in a shuddering tackle. Love then reduced the deficit with his best kick of the day, a 35 metre effort from the left. David Howells and Joe Trayfoot had come on for Mantella and Ben Russell and they almost combined for the next try but Howells couldn't quite gather Trayfoot's pass as it looked to have set him free.

And it got worse for Scottish soon after. Rotherham captain Charlie Mulchrone intercepted the ball at the back of a Scottish lineout and raced in to score unopposed from 40 metres. Scottish needed the next score if they were to have any chance of winning the match and Thompson almost provided the next try when he intercepted a stray pass and raced ahead before being hauled down with the try-line looming. But claim the next score they did, as Love banged over a simple penalty after a barnstorming run from skipper Mark Bright.

Scottish were on the hunt for a try to bring them to within a point and Love and Thompson combined superbly to dump a Rotherham defender into touch and earn themselves a lineout inside the Titans 22. But from the lineout, the ball was knocked on and when Nic Mayhew was penalised for an incorrect bind at the scrum, McKinney slotted an excellent penalty to effectively take the game away from Scottish.

There was still time for late drama at both ends. First, Toby Freeman was fed the ball and threw an outrageous dummy before sauntering in over the line for Rotherham's bonus point try. And, in the dying moments of the game, Scottish threw everything forwards in the hope of a final score. Bright and Lewis Calder took quick tap penalties to get them moving and eventually Ellis bundled his way over the line to score. Love drop kicked the conversion to bring Scottish to within 7 points and claim a losing bonus point. He also ensured that the season both started and ended with points against Rotherham from his boot.

Scottish finish the 2012-13 RFU Championship season in 8th place, 6 points behind Rotherham in 7th. Cornish Pirates' narrow victory over Jersey in Penzance leaves them in 6th place.

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