Highlanders return to winning ways at the RAG

31st October 2017

On a day with perfect conditions for rugby, the Highlanders took on top of the table team Ampthill and District 2ndXV. The previous week had resulted in a loss to Cinderford.

Despite the conditions Ampthill made it clear in the first 5 mins that they were not here to play expansive rugby but were planning on using their large forward pack to gain yards. They got through lots of narrow phases and as a result they muscled their way over in the far corner for the first try of the game.

Scottish, however, reacted quickly and after only a few phases on the ball electric winger Matt Williams managed to get on the outside of his opposite number with a powerful handoff and stretched his legs for a 50m run in.

After some early excitement, the game became somewhat of a stalemate with Ampthill reverting to long periods of unproductive possession. Credit to the Highlanders defence.

With sturdy defence Scottish managed to gather the ball and with a good set piece platform, they launched Alec Coombes away to scamper to the corner with three Ampthill defenders in his wake.

Scottish followed this up with a second set piece try, this time off the back of a Sottish scrum. A well worked backs move ended up with Matt Williams scoring under the post from range, again demonstrating his pace for his second try of the first half.

With the start of the second half, came a shift in momentum. Although Scottish wanted to come out and play the attacking rugby that had yielded dividends in the first half, they were brought back into an arm wrestle. As a result Ampthill were able to win multiple kickable penalties which narrowed the score to 17-14 at one point.

Some experienced heads in the pack prevailed for the Scots though and there became an increased focus on ball retention. With more possession came another try as outside back Alec Coombes again demonstrated power and pace and an ability to beat players one on one. With the pressure, seemingly relieved, Scottish got through more phases and the forwards got their chance to rumble their way onto the score sheet. Ben Christie crashing over from 5 yards for the bonus point win.

Scottish returned to the top of the league and the Highlanders demonstrated just what an attacking outfit they can be with ball in hand. Always things to work on, but a bonus point win against title rivals cannot be sniffed at.

Written by Matt Marley & Basil Strang


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