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DEFEAT GIVES LONDON SCOTTISH THE CAMBRIDGE BLUES

Cambridge 38 London Scottish 26 London Scottish, unbeaten in the league last season, slid to defeat against Cambridge at Granchester Road yesterday after a match which the home side largely dominated. The hosts narrowly missed out on winning a place in the Championship last year - indeed, under the rules in force at the start of the season, prior to the changes enforced by the RFU, they would have achieved promotion - and it was clear that with title ambitions this year, they would provide the National 3 South champions with a stiff challenge.

Cambridge 38 London Scottish 26 London Scottish, unbeaten in the league last season, slid to defeat against Cambridge at Granchester Road yesterday after a match which the home side largely dominated. The hosts narrowly missed out on winning a place in the Championship last year – indeed, under the rules in force at the start of the season, prior to the changes enforced by the RFU, they would have achieved promotion – and it was clear that with title ambitions this year, they would provide the National 3 South champions with a stiff challenge.

Cambridge had drawn their opening fixture 13-13 away to Redruth and ahead of yesterday’s game, director of rugby James Shanahan, who also plays at fly-half, had said that his side “need to be clinical and have that composure to finish a team off,” and he will no doubt be pleased that from that from his point of view, the match went according to plan. Fittingly, it was Shanahan himself who provided an example of how his game plan should be executed, crossing over for the first try after some good work from the Cambridge pack.

MPU

Centre Craig Evans, who had converted Shanahan’s try, added the conversion and a penalty, with Scottish full back Frankie Neale adding two successful penalties of his own, but as the interval approached the hosts claimed their second try, this time through No 8 Tom Powell. Again, Evans added the two points, giving Cambridge a 17-6 lead at half-time.

After the restart, Scottish had a golden opportunity to narrow the gap and get right back into the game when they found themselves two on one against the hosts. But the chance was squandered as the ball went to ground instead of hand, and Evans subsequently extended the home side’s lead with another penalty.

Scottish did manage to score three tries during the second period, with captain Gary Trueman, flanker Ben Lonnergan and Neale all getting on the scoresheet, and the full back kicking another eight points through a conversion and two penalties. However, it wasn’t enough to turn the match around as the hosts maintained their lead with tries from flanker Dan Legge and lock Rob Hurrell, with Evans kicking a further conversion as well as two more penalties.

Scottish head coach Brett Taylor conceded that his players had “received a lesson in terms of physicality and keeping the ball,” saying that Cambridge had “clearly done their homework on us, they wanted to take us on up front, and they did extremely well there.” He added, however, that on a positive note for Scottish, the side had demonstrated an “ability to attack and create opportunities.” Taylor said that the side needed to work on the lessons drawn from the match ahead of the next two games, which are similarly expected to provide a stern test for the side as it adapts to the rigours of National 1, with next Saturday’s match against Launceston followed by a visit to Esher on 26 September.

Scottish host Launceston at the Athletic Ground next week, and the Cornish All Blacks yesterday won a local derby against Redruth 32-26 to maintain their winning start to the season. However, the final score was closer than might have been expected at half-time when they were 20-0 ahead. Nevertheless, a bonus point was enough to leave Launceston as one of only two sides, the other being Esher, who yesterday ran in nine tries in beating Cinderford 62-15, to have taken a maximum ten points from their opening two matches.

Home Team
Cambridge 38 (Tries: Shanahan, Powell, Legge, Hurrell; Conversions: Evans (3); Penalties: Evans (4))
Away Team
London Scottish 26 (Tries: Trueman, Lonnergan, Neale; Conversion: Neale; Penalties: Neale (3))
Home Team
Cambridge: Wheatcroft, Schmidt, Dodge, Evans, Lombaard, Shanahan, Hunter, Laws, Pearl, Croall, Rudski, Hurrell, Legge, Fox (capt),Powell. Replacements: Brown, Cooper, Archer, Liebenberg, Barnard
Away Team
London Scottish: Neale, Howells, Nacamavuto, Trueman (capt), Broughton, Brown, Amor, Johnson, Silvester, Fahey, Fullarton, Livingston, Ball, Volley, Lipp. Replacements: Box, Graham, Lonnergan, Walbyoff, McInroy)
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