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Travel sickness strikes again as London Scottish suffer third away defeat in a row

Travel sickness strikes again as London Scottish suffer third away defeat in a row

London Scottish yesterday completed an unhappy sequence of three successive away matches in National League 1 with their third consecutive defeat.

London Scottish yesterday completed an unhappy sequence of three successive away matches in National League 1 with their third consecutive defeat.

However, unlike their previous matches against Otley and Launceston, in each of which a single point separated the sides, yesterday’s reversal against Stourbridge was by the emphatic margin of 27-14.

MPU

With Scottish starting the game four points behind league leaders Esher, but having played three games more, and Stourbridge battling to climb clear of the third relegation place, the West Midlands side seemed more fired up for the match and took a second-minute lead through a penalty from centre Sam Robinson.

Just two minutes later, the hosts were eight points ahead after prop Joe Baker scored the first of his side’s four tries, finishing off a move that had begun deep in the Stourbridge half when a Scottish pass went astray, although Richardson failed to find the mark with his conversion attempt.

On 20 minutes, another interception resulted in Stourbridge’s second try of the afternoon, winger Charlie Fellows taking the ball as the visitors looked sure to score and passing to scrum half Tom Richardson, who sprinted 70 metres to touch down under the posts. This time, Robinson sent his kick through the uprights for a 15-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the home team claimed their third try, this time through second row Ollie Richardson, the Canadian international going over in the corner after a drive from the Stourbridge pack. Robinson’s conversion kick went astray, however, leaving the score 20-0 to the hosts.

Despite the Scottish pack playing well and even having the better of the forward exchanges, Stourbridge marshalled their defence well, closing the ball down quickly whenever the visitors tried to get it out wide to deny the visitors opportunities and belying the teams’ respective league positions.

Just before half-time, however, Scottish finally got their first points on the board, and fittingly it came from the forwards, with flanker Ben Lonergan crashing over after a scrum close to the Stourbridge line.

Full-back Frankie Neale added the conversion to make the score at the interval 20-7, but hopes of a second-half turnaround were dealt a blow in the 53rd minute when Stourbridge claimed the bonus point with their fourth try of the afternoon, flanker James Rodley getting the vital touch following a chip over the Scottish defence from Robinson, who sent his conversion through the posts to secure the extra points.

Despite two sin-binnings for the home side resulting in Stourbridge having to play much of the remainder of the match at a one-man disadvantage, Scottish were frustrated in their efforts to translate their numerical superiority into a score until the closing minutes when they clawed back seven points through a penalty try, Neale adding the conversion to make the score 27-14.

With the referee blowing the final whistle shortly afterwards, that provided scant consolation for the on what proved to be a disappointing afternoon for the team and the travelling fans alike, although Stourbridge’s win, which should go a long way towards securing their place in National 1 next season, was understandably celebrated by their players and supporters.

The defeat leaves Scottish nine points behind league leaders Esher, who have three games in hand, with third-placed Launceston now just seven points behind, and following their series of away defeats, Scottish will be relieved to return to the familiar surroundings of the Athletic Ground, where next week they host Newbury Blues, 28-22 victors over Redruth yesterday.

Match report by Simon MacMichael, with thanks to Ian Aitken

Home Team
Tries: Baker, Richardson, Atkinson, Rodley; Conversions: Robinson (2); Penalties: Robinson (2)
Away Team
Tries: Lonergan, penalty try; Conversions: Neale (2)
Home Team
Bressington, Watkins, Billig, Robinson, Fellows, Higgins, Richardson, Sturdy, Collins, Baker, Homer, Atkinson, Hughes, Rodley, R Cooper (Replacements: Hunter-Blair, W Cooper, Barkley, Thomas, Davies)
Away Team
Neale, Broughton, Damant, Trueman, Piotrowski, Amor, Grant, Johnson, Standfield, Graham, Karonias, Smith, Yellowlees, Lonergan, Lipp (Replacements: Kent, Palmer, McInroy, Peel, Ellis)
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