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Scottish Succumb To Heavy Bristol Defeat

Scottish Succumb To Heavy Bristol Defeat

London Scottish brought their 2012-13 home season to a close with a 19-38 defeat to Bristol Rugby.

London Scottish brought their 2012-13 home season to a close with a 19-38 defeat to Bristol Rugby.

In rainy conditions, Scottish fell just short of a try bonus as they ran in three extremely well-worked scores against a Bristol side still chasing a top four slot. The visitors scored two early tries to take charge of the game and, despite mini Scottish comebacks throughout the remainder of the match, it was the West Country side that were in control, scoring five tries of their own.


Scottish began the game with aspirations of a top six finish, with Cornish Pirates just two points ahead of them in 6th place. And whilst that is still a possibility ahead of next weekend's final game of the season at Rotherham, the task will have been made more difficult after today's defeat.

Fans at the Athletic Ground are well accustomed to raining conditions and it was exactly that which greeted the two sides as they entered the field. James Love had an early penalty attempt but slipped as he struck the ball and his effort dropped below the posts. And Bristol soon demonstrated that they had adapted to the conditions as they won a lineout in Scottish territory and worked an opportunity for Mariano Sambucetti to bulldoze his way over for the opening try.

Bristol continued to show good control of the wet ball and they scored a second try, again from the lineout, through James Merriman. Fly-half Adrian Jarvis got his eye in early with two conversions and, when Love then missed another penalty attempt, it was beginning to look like a long afternoon for Scottish fans in the rain.

The visitors then went close again and looked to have scored their third but the referee judged that the ball had been held up. And, just before the break, Scottish hit back. Jamie Stevenson fed Love from a scrum just outside the Bristol 22 and the winger ran a superb diagonal line before feeding Jim Thompson to dive over at full stretch in the corner. Love's conversion was agonisingly wide and Scottish were 14-5 down at the break.

If the home side were to have any chance in the second half, they would have to score first but it was Bristol who grabbed the next score. Jarvis broke through the defensive line and the ball was worked to Jon Goodridge, via the hands of Luke Eves and Fautua Otto, for the full back to stretch over.

Scottish then hit back with a delightfully worked try for replacement Simon Whatling. Stevenson fed Phil Godman from the back of a scrum and the fly-half sent through a delightfully weighted kick for Whatling to pounce on to and score next to the posts. Love converted and the comeback was tentatively on.

But it wasn't to last. Jarvis nudged a simple penalty to increase the Bristol lead before Goodridge grabbed a second try and his side's fourth. The visitors camped themselves in the Scottish 22 and went through several phases before creating a large overlap on the right for Goodridge to take advantage of.

And Bristol grabbed a fifth try soon after. Godman attempted a kick over the top only for Otto to scoop up the loose ball and charge downfield before feeding Merriman inside for a simple try. There was still time for Miles Mantella to score the try of the day, picking up the ball 60 metres out and accelerating through the gears to beat at least three defenders. Love converted and Scottish had just under ten minutes to go for a bonus point. But a fourth try never materialised and the visitors saw out the remaining moments of the match.

Scottish travel to Clifton Lane to take on Rotherham Titans next Saturday (KO 3pm). The Club are running a supporters coach to the ground, leaving Richmond at 10am. Contact john.hewitt@londonscottish.com to book your place. 

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