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Trueman double seals second place for London Scottish

Trueman double seals second place for London Scottish

London Scottish put their awayday woes behind them yesterday to clinch victory over Sedgley Park and with it second place in National League 1, with skipper Gary Trueman grabbing a brace of tries including the game's decisive score.

London Scottish put their awayday woes behind them yesterday to clinch victory over Sedgley Park and with it second place in National League 1, with skipper Gary Trueman grabbing a brace of tries including the game’s decisive score.

A strong showing from the forwards characterised by battling performances from the likes of Tom Yellowlees and Mark Soden, as well as tries for Alex Karonias and Willie Lipp, set up the platform for victory in what turned out to be a close, hard-fought match, with tempers sometimes spilling over, while the back division also did well to restrict opportunities for the hosts as the Tigers fought back in the second half.

MPU

On a beautiful afternoon in the North West and with Scottish knowing that only a win would guarantee them finishing the league schedule with more points than third placed Launceston, there was an early setback when Sedgley Park, who started the brighter of the two sides, took the lead through a third-minute penalty from outside centre Matthew Riley.

Within three minutes, however, the lead had changed hands as Scottish second row Karonias carried over following a huge push down the left from the visitors’ pack. However, full back Frankie Neale saw his conversion attempt drift wide, the first of five missed kicks as he suffered an off day with the boot.

Sedgley Park wasted little time in replying, left wing Phil Largan skipping in at the corner on 12 minutes following a well-worked move, but the next three tries went to Scottish as the visitors moved into the ascendancy.

The first of those was set up by another massive drive from the forwards, this time down the right, and when the Scottish pack was held up on the line, the ball was spun out to the left where No 8 Lipp slotted into the move to cross over for the try.

Then, on 22 minutes, Scottish extended their lead when Trueman claimed the first of his two tries, Neale doing well to pass the ball back to his captain after he was tackled as he attempted to go over in the right-hand corner.

Six minutes later the side sealed a potentially vital bonus point with another try made by the forwards, Fahey almost driving over before the ball was recycled for Stuart Peel, playing at left wing, to get his name on the scoresheet.

With the visitors 20-8 ahead with less than half an hour played, the game seemed to be slipping away from Sedgley Park, but to the hosts’ credit, they came back at Scottish, narrowing the gap to just five points when No 8 Juan Crouse picked up from the back of a ruck and, spotting a gap in the Scottish defence, charged in from 20 metres to touch down under the posts and set up the easiest of conversion chances for Riley.

Following the interval, Sedgley Park continued to carry the game to Scottish, and with the second half 12 minutes old, moved into a 22-20 lead after prop Sammy Simpson went over in the corner, with Riley again adding the conversion to put his side ahead.

The momentum appeared to be swinging in favour of the hosts until, on 58 minutes, Peel intercepted a wayward pass inside his own half and charged for the line to get the ball back after he was tackled for replacement Ian McInroy to restore the Scottish lead.

Sedgley Park continued to battle, however, and a penalty from Riley five minutes later put the sides level at 25 points apiece. While fly half James Brown, taking over kicking duties from Neale, replied in kind for Scottish to restore their lead, with eight minutes left another Riley penalty levelled the scores again to set up a tense finale.

Trueman’s late try ensured that Scottish signed off the season with a win, but it was not without controversy, the referee only awarding the score after consulting with his touch judge amid protests from Sedgley Park players that the centre had failed to ground the ball, and Brown’s conversion made the final score 35-28.

Victory guaranteed Scottish second place in the league, despite Launceston claiming a bonus point in their 26-19 win over a Cinderford side trying to battle their way out of relegation. Esher, meanwhile are 17 points clear at the top with three games still to play, and yesterday ran in 21 tries in a 119-0 thumping of Manchester.

Home Team
Tries: Largan, Crous, Simpson; Conversions: Riley (2); Penalties: Riley (3)
Away Team
Tries: Trueman (2), Karonias, Lipp, Peel, McInroy; Conversion: Brown; Penalty: Brown
Home Team
Nutt, Blackwell, Hall, Riley, Largan, Wainwright, Wilkinson, Simpson, Oxley, Flynn, Lloyd, Williams, Livesey, Drew, Crous (Replacements: Warrington, G Roberts, Williams, Runciman, M Roberts)
Away Team
Neale, Piotrowski, Damant, Trueman, Peel, Brown, Grant, M Johnson, Standfield, Fahey, Karonias, Fullarton, Soden, Yellowlees, Lipp (Replacements: Ellis, Kent, Lonergan, Heeks, McInroy)
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