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Blackheath 17 – London Scottish 29

Blackheath 17 – London Scottish 29

London Scottish maintained their top of the league position, by recording a comfortable 29 - 17 win against Blackheath, and their 26th consecutive victory. Scottish scored four tries before the half time whistle, in a match whose final outcome was never in any doubt. With title rivals Barking again failing to secure a bonus point, Scottish have now opened up a three point gap at the top of the league, ahead of their final match show down next Saturday.

London Scottish maintained their top of the league position, by recording a comfortable 29 – 17 win against Blackheath, and their 26th consecutive victory. Scottish scored four tries before the half time whistle, in a match whose final outcome was never in any doubt. With title rivals Barking again failing to secure a bonus point, Scottish have now opened up a three point gap at the top of the league, ahead of their final match show down next Saturday.

In front of National League One's largest reported crowd of the season – 2,372, Scottish kicked off with a stiff breeze behind them on a bright sunny day. The opening stages of the match were played exclusively in the Blackheath 22 metre, with Scottish playing their normal pressured attacking game. Full credit to the Blackheath defence who resolutely held the potent Scottish attack out with some last ditch tackling.

MPU

The opening score of the match came completely against the run of play, when on the 14th minute when Scottish were again pressing down the left hand side of the pitch in the Blackheath 22m, when a wayward pass by the Scottish backs fell into the hands of the Blackheath winger Stephenson who raced 80 metres down the pitch to score just to the right of the posts. Fly half Windsor missed the conversion attempt. Not to be deterred, Scottish resumed their pressure on the Blackheath defence and the pressure finally told on the 21st minute when the Scottish backs passed the ball through hands, changing the point of attack. The ball was eventually passed out to full back Bordiss who scored to the right of the posts, after he shrugged off some poor tackling. Fly half Ratford converted to put Scottish in front 5 -7.

5 minutes later the Scottish flanker Calder hacked the ball through the retiring Blackheath defence and chased the ball into the Blackheath 22 metre. The Blackheath full back Doe covering back collected the ball, but was tackled by Calder. The other Scottish forwards were soon on the scene and drove the attacking rolling maul deep towards the Blackheath try line. The ball was eventually fed out to number 8 Lipp, who charged over from 5 metres out. Ratford converted a difficult conversion attempt out wide, to put Scottish in the driving seat 5 – 14. Scottish increased their lead further on the 35th minute, when again following intensive pressure on the Blackheath defence, Scottish capitalised on Blackheath mistakes and picked the ball up and again drove towards the Blackheath try line. The ball was re-cycled a number of times and flanker Calder was driven over by his fellow forwards. Ratford missed the conversion attempt to leave the score 5 – 19.

Scottish scored their 4th and bonus point try on the 38th minute of the game. Scottish were awarded a penalty after a Blackheath player was penalised for taking the ball in front of the kicker. Scottish opted to kick to the corner. From the line out the Scottish forwards caught and drove forward only to be held up 10 metres short. The ball was re-cycled a number of times and the ball was fed out to the Scottish backs who passed it through hands to winger Howells who touched down out wide for his 23rd try of the season. Ratford again kicked a very difficult conversion to leave the half time score line 5 – 26 to Scottish.

Not quite sure what was said to the Blackheath players at their half time break or if it was the boost of playing with the wind behind their backs, but the Blackheath team certainly in the opening phases of play in the second half were way and beyond anything they achieved in the first half. They immediately forced Scottish onto the back foot as the Blackheath forwards upped their game. The Blackheath pressure was rewarded on the 47th minute when their forwards were camped on the Scottish try line beneath the posts, Blackheath were awarded a penalty try after a series of Scottish infringements. To add to the Scottish woes, second row Brown was yellow carded. Windsor converted to reduce the arrears to 12 – 26.

Not for the first time this season, Scottish raised their game with having to play a 10 minute session with 14 players on the pitch. Their tackling intensified and any threat posed by Blackheath was snuffed out and this can be highlighted by the fact that Blackheath did not score a single point during the period that Scottish played with 14 players. With the clock winding down towards the end of the match Scottish put the result beyond doubt when, following a good breakout by the Scottish backs, who produced a scintillating series of moves down the left hand side of the pitch, Blackheath conceded a further 3 points via a penalty. Ratford converted the penalty to push the score out to 12 – 29. Not to be out done, Blackheath scored a consolation try right on the final whistle when Stephenson touched down for his second try of the match. Windsor missed the conversion attempt to leave the final score 17 – 29.

This match sets Scottish up nicely for their final league fixture over in Barking next weekend, as they comprehensively defeated a competent Blackheath side. Although the end result of this match was never in any doubt. The four first half tries allowed Scottish to take their foot off the pedal in the second half to a certain extent, but it is very clear that the team remains totally focused in continuing with their winning streak. So only one league match remains which will completes a truly remarkable season for Scottish. A huge thanks to all the Scottish supporters who made the trip across London for yesterday's match and your support was very noticeable. Make sure you get across to Barking by whatever means possible and if in any doubt come and join us on the organised supporter’s coaches to the match. Full details can be found on the website. Look out for the match preview later in the week.

Craig Ratford was awarded the away supporters Man of the Match award.

Home Team
Tries: Stephenson x2, Penalty Try

Con: Windsor

Away Team
Tries: Bordiss, Lipp, Calder, Howells

Con: Ratford x3

Pen: Ratford

Home Team
15 Doe, 14 Stephenson, 13 Lankshear, 12 Moan, 11 Lewis, 10 Windsor, 9 Walsh

1 Cleverly, 2 Allen, 3 Brett, 4 Bason, 5 Dewale, 6 Paddick, 7 Allen, 8 Northcote-Green

Replacements: Knight, Winwood, Sullivan, Squires, Ibrahim

Away Team
15 Bordiss, 14 Hihetah, 13 Peel, 12 Trueman, 11 Howells, 10 Ratford, 9 Amor

1 Clarke, 2 Kwasnicki, 3 Fahey, 4 Newman, 5 Josh Brown, 6 Ollie Brown, 7 Calder, 8 Lipp

Replacements: Standfield, Kent, Karonias, Walbyoff, McInroy 

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