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Injury time drop goal secures maximum points for London Scottish

Injury time drop goal secures maximum points for London Scottish

In what was surely the most exciting fixture of the season so far, London Scottish Fly-Half Lee Cholewa secured a much deserved victory for his side with a last minute injury-time drop goal. Simon Amor's team have now made it three victories in a row and have cemented their place near the top of National League 1.

In what was surely the most exciting fixture of the season so far, London Scottish Fly-Half Lee Cholewa secured a much deserved victory for his side with a last minute injury-time drop goal. Simon Amor’s team have now made it three victories in a row and have cemented their place near the top of National League 1.

In front of a strong home support, London Scottish started the game promisingly. The early exchanges, punctuated with handling errors from both sides, saw the London Scottish forwards making hard yards as the backs started to pick incisive running lines and show real intent. This early pressure was to be rewarded on the six minute mark as Lee Cholewa gave Scottish the lead with a converted penalty in line with the posts. David Howells closely followed this up with a try two minutes later, picking up a stray Tynedale pass and running in from 70 metres, with the assistance of some quick thinking passes from his fellow backs. Cholewa was again on hand to dissect the uprights and give the home side a 10-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes of the game.

MPU

It fell to Tynedale full-back Sepp Visser to register the next points on the board and bring the visitors back into contention. However, fly-half Gavin Beasley was unable to convert leaving the score 10-5 with all still to play for. Beasley would have his chance a few minutes later, making no mistake from a penalty following sloppy play from Scottish, making it 10-8 after 19 minutes.

Despite the close score line, the Scottish forwards were beginning to take the game to the opposition and win the battle of the gain line. The home side had a number of opportunites during the next 10 minutes of play as both fowards and backs picked and drove, but handling errors were their down fall as they continued to provide the visitors a lifeline. The game ebbed and flowed, but very quickly turned in favour of the visiting side as Standfield was shown a yellow card for going straight through on Tynedale Jonathan Cousins at the ruck.

Keeping the ball tight and denying Tynedale the opportunity to take advantage of the extra man, Scottish managed to see out the sin-bin period without any points going on the board.

With Scottish back to full strength, a scrum was to follow on the five metre line. Knowing the drive was going to come, Tynedale managed to hold the scrum and get the ball out quickly to the backs. Stretching play on the open side, Peter Cole touched down in the corner for a converted try and took the score to 10-20.

As both sides made their way to the changing rooms for half-time, you were left to wonder how Scottish would find their way back into a game they had dominated for large parts but found themselves trailing by 10 points in.
The beginning of the second half would not provide any further answers to this question. Dominating play as they had done for large parts of the first half, London Scottish gave away possession allowing Tynedale to pick off defenders in a broken field. Full-back Sepp Vasser stepped up for his second try of the day, touching down under the posts, giving Beasley an easy kick to stretch the score to 10-27.

For the first 50 minutes of the game, Tynedale had been the more clinical of the two sides and appeared to pick up points on almost every visit inside the Scottish 22. However, as the game continued, Simon Amor’s side began to play to their strengths, and keep the ball moving through the forwards and a succession of pick and drives from set pieces. Despite another successful penalty kick through Beasley stretching the score to 10-30, this tactic was soon to be rewarded, as Willie Lipp went over of the back of a drive direct from a line-out. With Cholewa maintaining his 100% record with the boot, the crowd could sense the tide was beginning to turn and really got behind the home side.
It would be another pick and drive from the back of a line-out that took Scottish back into the 22 and camped on the visiting sides try line. Phase after phase, the Scottish forwards wore down their opposition, as finally, second-half replacement Alex Clarke went over from a metre out. Cholewa made it four from four to bring the score within six points with little over seven minutes of regulation play left.

Scottish were now firmly on the front foot but found themselves battling against the clock to create the space for the vital last score. As the game went into injury time, the tension around the ground was palpable as all of the home support edged on their team for that last bit of effort. This would soon be rewarded, deep into injury time, as Clarke stepped up again from another pick and drive to take his side within a point of the lead. Having not lead for the majority of the game, Lee Cholewa made no mistake with the conversion to give his team a slender lead in what surely would be the last decisive action of the game.

Restarting the game with four added minutes having already been played, it was visible from the faces of the Tynedale players that this game was all but lost. That would quickly change as Standfield gave away a penalty direct from the restart and provided Tynedale fly-half Gavin Beasley the opportunity to snatch victory with only seconds left on the clock. He did not disappoint and rewarded the travelling support what would surely be the winning kick of the game.

Deep into injury-time and the game restarted for what would surely be the last time. With nothing left in the tank, the Scottish forwards somehow managed to muster one last burst of energy to chase the ball down from the restart. Knocking on in contact, the referee indicated the subsequent scrum would be the last play of the game. Quickly recycling the ball, the forwards drove on through two more phases of play, before Cholewa, sat in the pocket ready for the drop-goal attempt, called for the ball and sent it sailing though the posts. Scenes reminiscent of the Telstra Stadium in 2003 broke out across the Richmond Athletic Ground, as the referee blew time on what will surely go down as the most exciting game of rugby to be played in this league all season.

 

Home Team
Howells (8); Lipp (64); Clarke (73, 84)
Away Team
Visser (11, 49); Harrison (38); Cole (43) 
Home Team
Bordiss,Holgate, MacDougall, Trueman, Howells, Cholewa, Page, Johnston, Standfield, Fahey, Newman, Brown, Lipp, Lonergan, Soden

Replacements: Kwasnicki, Clarke, Karonias, Walbyoff, McInroy

Away Team
Visser, Cole, Harrison, Smales, Ingall, Beasley, Outson, Williams, Ridley, Shields, Irvin, Boyle, Cousin, Beasley, Dawson
 

Replacements: Rogers, Southern, Jupp, Dunn, Sorrequieta
 

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