The Highlanders savoured a well-earned win in an exciting game where the lead changed five times. Hammersmith pressed hard in the final quarter closing to within two points, but Scottish held on for their victory. Final score Hammersmith & Fulham 2nds 27 – 29 London Scottish Highlanders.
The home side kicked off and dominated the early play but the Scottish line remained miraculously uncrossed through a mixture of stout defence and flawed final passes. Hammersmith eventually collected three points with a penalty kick, and it was a relief for Scottish to return to halfway for the restart. Robbie Macdonald then quickly demonstrated the potential of the Scottish backs with a couple of magic steps and a sprint down the wing to open the Scottish account.
The home forwards returned to the Scottish 22, and won turnover ball to put their left wing clear to regain the lead. Play consolidated in the middle of the pitch for the next ten minutes as the Scottish forwards got to grips with their opponents, winning possession for Dan Sanders to break through the middle and touch down under the posts. As with the first Scottish score, Hammersmith came straight back and their flyhalf weaved his way towards the line where he was held, but the referee gave him the benefit of the doubt and awarded the try. However, Robbie Macdonald repeated his earlier trick from halfway edging Scottish in front at half-time.
Scottish started the second half well with Jones breaking through and putting Perrin in for a try in the corner. Twelve minutes later, scrum-half Tom Macarthur danced through the Hammersmith defence to touch down under the posts. Webber’s quick drop kick conversion was to prove the difference between the sides at the end.
Hammersmith stepped up their effort as they tried to retrieve the game, while Scottish continued to run the ball at every opportunity. An intercepted Webber pass set Hammersmith up for a kick ahead and recycled ball to score a good try out wide. Five minutes later, the home centre charged through to stretch out through some soft tackling to score under the posts. However, despite persistent Hammersmith pressure, the Highlanders’ determination not to concede further was well rewarded in securing a welcome win.
Team: 15 Grufford Jones; 14 Robbie Macdonald, 13 Liam Russell, 12 Dan Sanders, 11 Aaron Perrin; 10 Adam Webber, 9 Josh Graham; 8 Hamish Coventry, 7 Carlo Castaldo, 6 Eliot Fallon; 5 Alastair Reid, 4 Alex Hawkes; 3 Tom Pellet, 2 Marcus Bailey, 1. Shane Logan.
Replacements: David Greene, Mark Canning, Tom McArthur, Pete Bremner, Charlie Marchant-Rowe.
Tries: Macdonald 2, Sanders, Perrin, Macarthur; Conversions: Webber 2.
Scoring sequence: 3-0 (14 mins), 3-5 (18), 8-5 (22), 8-12 (34), 15-12 (38), 15-17 (40+3); 15-22 (43), 15-29 (55), 20-29 (67), 27-29 (72).
Conditions: Bright and sunny. Pitch hard, but with thick grass.