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London Scottish 47 – 29 Launceston

London Scottish 47 – 29 Launceston

London Scottish in their last home match of the season and in front of a large crowd produced a scintillating performance on a sweltering hot day. They overcame a physically strong and competent Launceston side 47 - 29, who never gave up and battled to the end. This 25th consecutive victory with a bonus point opens up a two point lead at the top of National League 1, as their nearest rivals Barking failed to obtain the bonus point.

London Scottish in their last home match of the season and in front of a large crowd produced a scintillating performance on a sweltering hot day. They overcame a physically strong and competent Launceston side 47 – 29, who never gave up and battled to the end. This 25th consecutive victory with a bonus point opens up a two point lead at the top of National League 1, as their nearest rivals Barking failed to obtain the bonus point.

On a day more akin to weather for a cricket match, Launceston kicked off playing towards the health club end of the ground. The opening plays in this match were played in the Launceston half of the pitch. However, Scottish were penalised on the 6th minute of the game for not rolling away at the tackling of the player. Launceston centre Western missed with his first penalty attempt of the match from just inside the Scottish 10 metre line. Shortly later, Scottish scrum half Amor made the first of a series of snipping runs through the Launceston defence and only good tackling prevented the opening score of the match. Launceston put the first points of the match on the scoreboard on the 24th minute of the match, after centre Western, who is bound for the Cornish Pirates next season, scored his 21st try of the season. He broke through the middle of the Scottish defence to touch down to the left of the posts. Fly half Murphy added the extras with the conversion to leave the score 0 – 7.

MPU

Scottish achieved parity in the score on the 33rd minute, when winger Hihetah finished off a very good backs move, when following a quick tap penalty by Amor a pass was thrown out wide to Hihetah, who cut inside and after the ball was re-cycled he was available to take the ball again to dive in out wide. Ratford converted a difficult conversion effort. Launceston took the lead again on 40 minutes, when Western converted a penalty after Scottish were penalised for not rolling away. Not to be out done, Scottish bounced back and after a series of scrums close to the Launceston try line, a great pick up and dive over by Amor put Scottish into the lead as the teams headed to the tunnel for their half time break. Ratford converted to leave the half time score 14 – 10.

Scottish kicked off the second half and was awarded a dubious scrum as the referee deemed that a Launceston player had knocked on. The scum was 15 metres out from the Launceston try line and at the resultant scrum, Scottish picked up and drove towards the Launceston line, but were held up. After a number of re-set scrums, Scottish was eventually awarded a penalty try after a series of penalties against Launceston on their try line. Ratford converted an easy conversion attempt beneath the posts to put Scottish 21-10 ahead. One thing you can say about the Launceston side is that they never lay down and they brought themselves straight back into the match when full back Turner scored out wide, after the ball was moved through backs hands. Western missed a very difficult conversion attempt, leaving the score line 21 – 15.

Scottish secured the bonus point try, when flanker Calder was on hand to support his fellow flanker Brown who had broken through some poor Launceston tackling in the middle of the park. Calder touched down just to the right of the posts and Ratford, again adding the extras to post a score line of 28 – 15. The fifth Scottish try was scored on the 55th minute, which was probably the best of the bunch when winger Howells took the ball out wide on the left flank close to the halfway line. Once he received the ball he ghosted past his opposite number, cut inside and raced away with a number of Launceston defenders in his wake. He touched down just to the left of the posts; however Ratford missed the conversion attempt. Shortly afterwards the Launceston backs scored their third try of the match, after a breakout from their own 22 metre. They cleverly passed the ball through hands down the right hand side of the pitch, which eventually reached winger Dwyer who scored out wide near the touchline. Western missed the conversion attempt.

Prop Standfield came on as a front row replacement close to the hour mark and made an immediate impact. He scored Scottish's sixth try of the match, when he pick up the ball at the base of a series of rolling mauls to drive over the try line beneath the posts. Ratford converted to put Scottish 40 – 22 in front. Again the Launceston never say die approach was in evidence as they scored their fourth and bonus point try on 67th minute. Scottish were penalised on a couple of occasions and Launceston kicked to the corner. At the line out they caught and drove towards the Scottish line, but were repulsed by a resolute Scottish defence, eventually, Launceston re-cycled the ball and eventually it was prop Andrew, who was driven over by his fellow forwards. Western converted. Scottish wrapped up the scoring in this match and in fact their home league campaign in the 2nd minute of overtime, when prop Standfield crashed over for his second of this match and his twelfth of the season, after he made a tremendous break through the centre of the park to leave a final score of 47 – 29.

Full credit to Launceston, although a large physical outfit they did not at any time wilt, in this match that was played on a ferociously warm day. It is very clear that all their players were fighting to the bitter end and their coaching team should be very pleased with their overall performance. Scottish on the other hand, turned in another solid performance which included a total of seven tries, to take their overall total for the season to 131. This victory, their 25th consecutive sets the team up nicely for next weekend’s away match at Blackheath and their penultimate game of this season. Blackheath, Scottish's old rivals will no doubt be relishing the opportunity to do the double over Scottish and will present a significant challenge in the road to the league title, which can be highlighted through the fact that they denied Barking a bonus point yesterday in their home match. Look out for the Blackheath match preview later in the week.

Simon Amor was awarded the FirstCape Wines Man of the Match Award.

Home Team
Tries: Hihetah, Amor, Penalty Try, Calder, Howells, Standfield x2

Con: Ratford x 6

Away Team
Tries: Western, Turner, Dwyer, Andrew

Pen: Western

Con: Murphy x2, Western

Home Team
Bordiss, Hihetah, MacDougall, Trueman (c), Howells, Ratford, Amor

Clarke, Kwasnicki, Fahey, Newman, Josh Brown, Ollie Brown, Calder, Lipp

Replacements: Kent, Standfield, Karonias, Walbyoff, Piotrowski

Away Team
Turner, Hawken, Western, Nonu, Chew, Murphy, Webb

Andrew, Semmens, Bayliss, Lord, Jenkins, Fleming, Dwyer, Rawlings

Replacements: Pow, Salter, Childs, Roques, Lewsey

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