London Scottish went down to a narrow 25-17 defeat to Bristol Rugby this afternoon at Richmond Athletic Ground.
In a hard-fought clash between two evenly matched sides, it was Bristol who came out on top thanks to eight unanswered points in the final 15 minutes, including a try for winger David Lemi which sealed Andy Robinson’s side a try bonus point.
Nevertheless the Scots will take great heart from the performance which proved they are deserving of their current position in the upper echelons of the Greene King IPA Championship.
In the first 10 minutes both teams started with good intent pressing hard for the opening score but with no end product.
Bristol squandered a decent chance to put pressure on the Scots from an attacking line-out midway through the half only for Scottish to turn over ball right on their line.
Pressure from the visitors eventually led to the first try on 24 minutes.
Mitch Eadie picked up from the base of a scrum on the Scots’ line but was held up short after Dan Newton’s tackle.
However second row forward Mark Sorenson was on hand to pick up and score from close range.
Matthew Morgan missed what seemed a fairly simple conversion before Bristol scored their second try four minutes later.
Scottish were penalised near halfway allowing Morgan to nudge the ball into touch five metres from the tryline.
From the subsequent line-out, flanker Marco Mama peeled off the back of a driving maul to score.
Morgan again missed the conversion but Bristol were now 10 points to the good in quick time.
The hosts needed to respond quickly and having enjoyed a fair amount of territory and possession they were rewarded with a try on 36 minutes.
Inside centre Matt Hawke cut a superb line off Dan Newton’s pass to power through a gap and score under the sticks from 20 metres out.
Peter Lydon’s simple kick moved Scottish to within three points of Bristol at the interval.
The Scots brought themselves level nine minutes into the second half courtesy of a long range Peter Lydon penalty.
But Bristol responded in fine fashion scoring their third try soon after.
It followed prop Max Maidment’s yellow card for hauling down a Bristol attacking maul from a line-out.
The visitors opted for another line-out from the penalty with their powerful maul allowing replacement forward Josh Ovens to crash over.
Nicky Robinson kicked the conversion for a seven point advantage with Lydon squandering a great chance to reduce that to four, missing a penalty from straight in front.
Scottish got their second try of the game on 64 minutes.
It came from a training ground move which saw replacement hooker Adam Kwasnicki receive the ball back from Mark Bright following a short throw-in to score unopposed in the right corner.
Dan Newton kicked the touchline conversion to level things up again at 17-17 only for Bristol to respond immediately to seal their try bonus point.
The ball was put through the backs hands allowing left winger Lemi the simple task of dotting down in the corner.
Robinson missed the conversion but made no mistake with a drop goal on 73 minutes to put Bristol two scores ahead at 17-25.
Scottish pressed for what would have been a well merited losing bonus point but it was not to be as Bristol saw out the remaining minutes to seal victory.
REACTION – Try scorer Matt Hawke praises teammates after narrow loss, click here.
London Scottish host Moseley at Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday, February 21, 3pm kick-off.
Match tickets start at just £12 for members and £15 for non-members and under-16s can get in for free (Clan, standing ticket). Book hospitality and tickets here.
Richmond Card holders (excluding Visitor Richmond Cards) can get into the game for £10 (one Clan, standing, ticket per card holder) whilst Aviva Premiership club season ticket holders can watch London's ONLY Championship club for just £5 (one Clan, standing, ticket per season ticket holder) if they present their season ticket at the gate.
15, Peter Lydon (replaced by Lee Millar), 14, Matt Williams (replaced by Matt Heeks), 13, Matt Hawke, 12, Connor Braid, 11, Miles Mantella, 10, Dan Newton, 9, Jamie Stevenson, 1, Mark Lilley (replaced by James Hallam), 2, David Cherry (replaced by Adam Kwasnicki), 3, Max Maidment (replaced by Stewart Maguire), 4, Adam Preocanin (replaced by Tai Tuisamoa), 5, Josh Thomas Brown (replaced by Gregor Gillanders), 6, Chevvy Pennycook, 7, Chris Walker, 8, Mark Bright (c).
16, James Hallam, 17, Adam Kwasnicki, 18, Stewart Maguire, 19, Tai Tuisamoa, 20, Gregor Gillanders, 21, Matt Heeks, 22, Lee Millar.
Tries: Matt Hawke (34 minutes) Adam Kwasnicki (63 minutes)
Conversions: Peter Lydon (34 minutes) Dan Newton (64 minutes)
Penalties: Peter Lydon (47 minutes)
Yellow Card: Max Maidment
15 Jack Wallace; 14 George Watkins, 13 Jack Tovey (replaced by Gareth Maule), 12 Ben Mosses, 11 David Lemi; 10 Matthew Morgan (replaced by Nicky Robinson), 9 Dwayne Peel (c) (replaced by Craig Hampson); 1, Jack O’Connell, 2, Ross McMillan, 3, Gaston Cortes 4 Glen Townson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 6 Ryan Jones (replaced by Josh Ovens), 7 Marco Mama, 8 Mitch Eadie.
16, Chris Brooker, 17, James Hall, 18, Ben Glynn, 19, Josh Ovens, 20, Craig Hampson, 21, Nicky Robinson, 22, Gareth Maule
Tries: Mark Sorenson (23 minutes) Marco Mama (27 minutes) Josh Ovens (53 minutes) David Lemi (66 minutes)
Conversions: Nicky Robinson (53 minutes)
Drop Goal: Nicky Robinson (72 minutes)
Referee: J P Doyle
Assistant Referees: Richard Kelly and Ashley Rowden
Fourth Official: Greg Garner
HALF TIME: LONDON SCOTTISH 7 – 10 BRISTOL RUGBY
FULL TIME: LONDON SCOTTISH 17 – 25 BRISTOL RUGBY