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Scottish see off Plymouth in league thriller

Scottish see off Plymouth in league thriller

London Scottish kept their Greene King IPA Championship play-off hopes alive this afternoon following a remarkable 38-27 win over Plymouth Albion at Richmond Athletic Ground.

London Scottish kept their Greene King IPA Championship play-off hopes alive this afternoon following a remarkable 38-27 win over Plymouth Albion at Richmond Athletic Ground.

The home side raced into a 19-0 lead inside the first half an hour before Albion seized control during the next 30 minutes scoring 27 unanswered points and four tries.


Scottish were all at sea at this point but showed great character to regain the initiative in the final quarter, scoring three more tries as Albion finished the match with 13 men.

The bonus point victory was just the boost James Buckland's side needed after a poor performance against Nottingham Rugby last Friday and two away trips to Rotherham Titans and Leeds Carnegie on the horizon.

The Scots began impressively with captain Mark Bright scoring his eighth try of the league campaign after nine minutes.

They won a free-kick from a scrum on the Plymouth 22 which was taken quickly, Bright himself making the early yards.

Eventually the ball was shipped out to Neil Best who fed Adam Kwasnicki inside him.

The hooker then produced a delightful offload for Bright whose angled run saw him march through a gaping hole to score.

James Love's kick made it 7-0.

Declan Cusack missed a chance to reduce the deficit immediately as his penalty drifted wide in the swirling wind.

It got better for Scottish midway through the half when a powerful break by centre Mike Doneghan set-up Jim Thompson to score under the posts.

Love again made no mistake with the conversion as the Athletic Ground outfit opened up a 14-0 lead.

The third try was scored on 25 minutes and again Scottish superiority at the scrum was telling.

This time they secured possession against the head and when Bright picked the ball up at the base of the scrum, he galloped down the short side unchallenged to touched down.

Love missed the tricky conversion.

Scottish continued to dominate but they switched off badly twice just before half-time to allow Albion a way back into the game.

Jim Thompson's weak tackle enabled inside centre Heath Stevens to score in the left corner on 37 minutes.

Cusack's conversion drifted wide before Plymouth came right back into the contest with the last play of the half.

A lovely grubber kick behind the Scottish defence by Cusack saw former London Scot Dan Mugford gather and touch down unopposed.

Albion were full of confidence attacking at every opportunity and a flowing move from one side of the park to the other ended with number eight Stephen's setting up Lewis Warner for a third try early in the second half.

Cusack's conversion hit the bar but he made no mistake with a penalty 15 minutes into the second half which put Albion into the lead at 20-19 for the first time.

Albion secured their try bonus point in circumstances that will have infuriated forwards coach James Buckland.

Inside their own dead ball area, Scottish were turned over and Robert Langley dived on the ball to score.

Cusack's kick made it 27-19 before Scottish themselves got their bonus point when man of the match Mike Doneghan scored in the left corner after another fine break on 66 minutes.

Loves conversion was off target but they continued to pile on the pressure with Plymouth captain Rhys Oakley sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement.

Scottish were now battering the Albion line and after a prolonged period of pressure, referee Dave Proctor awarded the hosts a penalty try.

Loves simple conversion made it 31-27 to Scottish.

Albion were reduced to 13 men soon after when Lloyd Fairbrother was yellow carded for a late tackle on Miles Mantella.

But the winger had the last laugh, picking himself up off the floor and latching onto Bright's pass to score Scottish's six try of the afternoon.

Love's conversion from straight in front was the final act of a thoroughly entertaining game.

– Listen to coach James Buckland's post-match audio interview here.

– Our next home game is on Sunday, March 9, 12.30pm kick-off, when we welcome local rivals Ealing Trailfinders to the Athletic Ground.

Fans can watch this game for just £10 (Clan, standing ticket), by far the best value ticket in the Championship.

This is a special ‘online only’ discounted ticket deal.

Click here to purchase your tickets.

As always, under-16s can get in for free.

London Scottish: 15, Jim Thompson; 14, James Love; 13, Mike Doneghan; 12, PJ Gidlow; 11, Miles Mantella; 10, Dan Newton; 9, Jordi Pasqualin; 1, Eric Fry; 2, Adam Kwasnicki; 3, Tom Francis; 4, Tyler Hotson; 5, David Lyons; 6, Neil Best; 7, Chevvy Pennycook; 8, Mark Bright (c).

Used replacements:17, Mark Irish; 18, Paul Spivey; 20, Lee Millar;

Unused replacements: 16, Tom Dunn; 19, Joe Trayfoot; 22, Peter Homan.

Tries: Bright (2), Thompson, Doneghan, Penalty Try, Mantella.

Conversions: Love (4).

Plymouth Albion: 15, Dan Mugford; 14 Tom Bowen; 13 Toby Howley-Berridge; 12, Heath Stevens; 23, Lewis Warner; 10, Declan Cusack; 9, Paul Rowley; 1, Martin Rice; 2, Davy McGregor; 3, Lloyd Fairbrother; 4, Brett Beukeboom; 5, Rhys Oakley (c); Rob Langley; 7, Sam Matavesi; 8, Sean-Michael Stephen.

Used replacements: 16, Ben Rogers; 19, Len Ascroft-Leigh;21, Ruairi Cushion; 20, Chris Elder;

Unused replacements: 17, Tom Harrison; 18, Dave Morton; 24, Pale Nonu.

Tries: Stevens, Mugford. Warner, Langley

Conversions: Cusack (2)


Sin-binned: Oakley, Fairbrother.

Referee: Dave Proctor

Assistant referees: Chris White and Chris Sharp

Attendance: 819.

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