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London Scottish back to winning ways on return to the Athletic Ground

London Scottish back to winning ways on return to the Athletic Ground

London Scottish got back to winning ways on their return to the Athletic Ground this afternoon following three successive defeats away from home, running out 41-20 winners over Newbury in an entertaining National League 1 encounter.

London Scottish got back to winning ways on their return to the Athletic Ground this afternoon following three successive defeats away from home, running out 41-20 winners over Newbury in an entertaining National League 1 encounter.

On a calm afternoon, the visitors kicked off and swiftly had the Scottish defence under pressure, winning a penalty in the second minute which fly half Mitchell Burton slotted over, repeating the feat five minutes later from an almost identical position close to the 22 on the left-hand side of the pitch for a 6-0 lead.

MPU

It took Scottish another quarter of an hour to get their first points on the board, although they had twice come close in the intervening period, first with a disallowed try after right wing Charlie Broughton attempted to run on to a deft chip from fly half James Brown, which was followed by a missed penalty from full back Frankie Neale who saw the ball drift just wide.

Neale made amends moments later, however, slotting into a move on the left and dong well to collect the ball to go over for a try in the corner, although he was unable to add the conversion.

As the game opened up, both teams came close to adding the second try of the match, with Newbury prop Craig McGrath well tackled by Scottish flanker Tom Yellowlees as he sought to burst clear for the line, and home centre Stuart Peel stopped short as he looked to find a way through at the other end.

The home crowd didn’t have long to wait to celebrate another try, however, with second row Iain Fullarton charging through to get his name on the scoresheet on 25 minutes, and this time Neale’s kick sailed through the uprights to put Scottish 12-6 ahead.

Five minutes later, Broughton marked his 50th appearance for the club the first of his two tries of the afternoon, avoiding two last-ditch Newbury tackles after gathering well from centre Rory Damant to touch down in the right-hand corner, with Neale again adding the conversion.

By half-time, Scottish had wrapped up the bonus point, scrum half Callum Grant catching the Newbury defence asleep as he picked up from the back of a scrum ten metres out and running through to claim his first try for the club, Neale’s conversion extending the hosts’ lead to 20 points.

As the half drew to a close, Newbury pushed for a try of their own and were rewarded when flanker Liam Perkins touched down on the right after his side had elected to run a penalty from in front of the Scottish posts rather than taking the easier option of kicking for three points. Burton added the conversion to make the half-time score 26-13.

The visitors began the second half in the same vein with which they had ended the first, and on 46 minutes claimed their second try when left wing Martin Freeman shrugged off a couple of tackles to score under the posts. Again, Burton put his kick over, reducing the gap to just six points.

Scottish struck back within moments, however, Tom Standfield going over in the right-hand corner to make the score 31-20. Then, shortly after the hour, the hosts sealed victory through a penalty from Neale followed swiftly by Broughton’s second try of the afternoon, which came after the winger intercepted a Newbury pass and ran 70 metres to touch down under the posts to set up an easy conversion chance.

Late on, Scottish prop Matt Johnson was substituted, allowing him to take the crowd’s applause as he marked his 101st match for the club, while his fellow forward, Mark Soden marked his return to the side by picking up the First Cape Man of the Match Award.

The team’s return to familiar surroundings was given an added Scottish flavour by promotions from Visit Scotland together with Black Grouse whisky and meat suppliers Donald Russell of Inverurie. With third-placed Launceston losing at Blaydon, today’s win consolidates second place in the league for Scottish, who now lie 11 points ahead of the Cornish All Blacks.

Home Team
Tries: Broughton (2), Neale, Fullarton, Grant, Standfield; Conversions: Neale (4); Penalty: Neale
Away Team
Tries: Perkins, Freeman; Conversions: Burton (2); Penalties: Burton (2)
Home Team
Neale, Broughton, Peel, Damant, Howells, J Brown, Grant, M Johnson, Standfield, Fahey, Fullarton, Palmer, Soden, Yellowlees, Lipp (Replacements: Ellis, Kent, Smith, Heeks, McInroy)
Away Team
Perry, Coxon-Smith, Turner, Mangeolles, Freeman, Burton, Avery, Fidler, Fincken, McGrath, Hodge, Ascroft-Leigh, Perkins, Bentall, Jackson (Replacements: Oliver, Widdop, Cannock, Scott, Gale)
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