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Wharfedale 24 v 31 London Scottish

Wharfedale 24 v 31 London Scottish

London Scottish returned from the Yorkshire Dales with a thoroughly professional victory against a Wharfedale side who fought to the bitter end and received a losing bonus point for their efforts, whereas Scottish took the spoils in what was their 24th consecutive victory and remain in pole position at the top the league.

London Scottish returned from the Yorkshire Dales with a thoroughly professional victory against a Wharfedale side who fought to the bitter end and received a losing bonus point for their efforts, whereas Scottish took the spoils in what was their 24th consecutive victory and remain in pole position at the top the league.

Wharfedale kicked off on a cloudy day, playing with a stiff breeze behind their backs. In the opening plays of the game, Scottish centre MacDougall created a very good break down the channels and off loaded to full back Bordiss, who was tackled deep in the opposition 22 metre. Shortly afterwards Wharfedale were penalised at the ruck and Scottish kicked to the corner. At the subsequent line out very good home defence held firm and prevented the Scottish pack from driving over. The home side opened the scoring on 8 minutes when full back Bordiss was penalised for holding onto the ball after he was tackled on the Scottish 10 metre line. The Wharfedale centre Davidson coolly stroked the ball between the sticks to leave the score 3 – 0.

MPU

The home side were immediately penalised at the re-start and Scottish kicked to the corner and at the line out second row Brown caught the ball and was driven forward by the pack. The ball was re-cycled a number of times, with prop Standfield being the player to emerge with ball in hands after scoring the try. Fly half Ratford missed a difficult kick against a strong swirling wind to leave Scottish edging ahead 3 – 5. Five minutes later Scottish scored their second try of the match and probably the best of their five tries in the match. The Scottish backs produced a series of sublime passing exchanges between MacDougall and Bordiss, who cut through the Wharfedale back line and raced away towards the try line. The Wharfedale full back Hart tackled his opposite number well, however MacDougall was on his shoulder to collect the off load pass to score beneath the posts. Ratford added the extras and pushed Scottish into a nine point advantage 3 -12.

Wharfedale were not undeterred and their forwards began to take the game to the Scottish defence. Scottish were penalised for holding on at the half way line and Davidson slotted over a tremendous effort with the wind behind his back to close the score line to 6 – 12 in the visitors favour. Davidson just missed with a very good drop goal effort, with the ball just drifting to the left of the posts at the last minute. The Wharfedale cause was dented just before the half hour mark when their captain and number 8 Baldwin was yellow carded. Davidson missed another penalty effort five minutes before the break; however Davidson redeemed himself shortly later by closing the gap in the score line to 9 – 12. Wharfedale took the lead just before the referee blew for half time. The Wharfedale backs hacked the ball forward into the Scottish 22 metre. The Wharfedale attack was held up short and at the subsequent scrum Number 8 Baldwin picked up the ball at the base of the scrum and was driven over to put the home side 14 – 12 up, as the teams headed for the half time break.

Five minutes into the second half, Wharfedale increased their lead further, when again Scottish were penalised for not releasing the ball just outside their 22 metre. Davidson converted another good effort to leave the scores 17 – 12. This penalty appeared to have a positive effect on the away side and shortly afterwards scrum half Amor scampered through the retiring home defence at a quick penalty and the ever present Calder was on his shoulder to collect the pass and scored just to the left of the posts. Ratford converted to put Scottish back in front 17 – 19. Scottish tails were now up and the bonus point try was scored on the 51st minute when the Scottish forwards drove deep into the Wharfedale 22 metre, after a series of rolling mauls. The Scottish Number 8 Lipp picked up a loose ball and raced away to score out wide on the left hand side of the pitch. Ratford missed a difficult conversion to leave the score 17 – 24.

Scottish put the match out of the home sides reach, 10 minutes before the end, when they cut through the Wharfedale defence in the centre of the pitch. The ball was re-cycled a number of times, with centre MacDougall eventually breaking the line, then off loading to replacement second row Karonias, who touched down to the right of the posts. Ratford converted to put Scottish clearly in the driving seat 17 -31. Fair credit to Wharfedale who never gave up and they began to run the ball through hands taking the ball from deep in their on 22 metre to the other end of the pitch. The home side scored the final points of the game just before the referee blew the whistle to end the match, when the ball was kicked deep into the Scottish 22 metre and good support play allowed flanker Hughes to dive over out wide. Davidson capped a fine performance and converted a difficult conversion attempt to give Wharfedale a losing bonus point and the final score of 24 – 31.

Any game at Wharfedale will always be difficult, as the home side are always cheered on by a very partisan home support; however Scottish dug deep and returned home with the bonus point in the bag. This victory represents their 24th consecutive win, as the season enters a very exciting climax. Scottish has three further games to complete their league programme and move onto their final home match of the season, against Launceston. (Launceston's loss yesterday against Blackheath confirmed their relegation to National League 2 South for next season).

Many thanks again for the tremendous turn out of Scottish support yesterday and there were many occasions during the match that your voices and support could be heard above the highly vocal home support. Look out for the final home match preview of the season, which will appear on the website later in the week.

Ben MacDougall was awarded the away supporters Man of the Match.

Home Team
Tries: Baldwin, Hughes

Con: Davidson

Pen: Davidson x5

Away Team
Tries: Standfield, MacDougall, Calder, Lipp, Karonias

Con: Ratford x3

Home Team
15 Hart, 14 Taylor, 13 Hodgson, 12 Davidson, 11 Horsfall, 10 Barrett, 9 Cottrell,

1 Steel, 2 Graham, 3 Dickinson, 4 Brown, 5 Vaioleti, 6 Hughes, 7 Solomi, 8 Baldwin

Replacements: McGee, Sowery, Rhodes, Allen, Black

Away Team
15 Bordiss, 14 Hihetah, 13 MacDougall, 12 Trueman, 11 Howells, 10 Ratford, 9 Amor

1 Clarke, 2 Kwasnicki, 3 Standfield, 4 Newman, 5 Brown, 6 Brown, 7 Calder, 8 Lipp

Replacements: Kent, Fahey, Karonias, Yellowlees, Walbyoff

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