This was another weekend with a full fixture card for the Junior section of the club as they played fixtures all over London. Read below the match reports from the various sides coaches on how the matches went this weekend.
U12 Match Report written by Colin Adams
Saracens 1 – 1 London Scottish
Hackney 3 – 3 London Scottish
London Scottish U12s travelled on Sunday to North London for Round 3 of the Middlesex Championship, looking to build on their good performances in Round 2. The first match was against Saracens, and was a hard-fought match with both sides rucking, tackling and passing well. The result, a 1-1 draw, does not entirely reflect the exciting endeavour shown by both teams, but was a fair outcome with both sides showing strong commitment in defence and attack. One of Saracens’ coaching team remarked that it had been the best match of their season so far, and it was certainly one of London Scottish’s best performances.
The second match was against hosts Hackney, and London Scottish were immediately on the backfoot with Hackney scoring from the kick off. London Scottish quickly equalised, but conceding the early try seemed to affect the boys’ composure for a period of the match. Their play in the first half was less confident and incisive, and ball retention less assured. Hackney scored twice to make it 3-1, and it was difficult to see how London Scottish could get back in the game as the minutes ticked on. However, a try in the last 4 minutes galvanised the team, and their confidence started to return. The final moments of the match were thrilling as Scottish scored with the last play of the game to level the score at 3-3. It was a stirring comeback, and felt like a victory.
Overall, the boys had a lot to be proud of, and finished on a buoyant note. We wait to see who we will be drawn against in the fourth and final round of the Championships!
U13 Match Report written by Kerry Eley
Harlequins – London Scottish 15- 40
A cool blustery day in Teddington for a league match against Harlequins and a battle expected with school friends on opposing sides. London Scottish began in their usual sleepy fashion and Harlequins got in a quick first try. Play was firmly in the Scottish half for the next fifteen minutes giving the defence a good workout until Arthur dug out a ball, passed to Callum who ran it over to equalise. At the restart, Alex took the initiative and suddenly it was 2-1 to Scottish. A frustrating period of play followed for both sides as neither could gain the advantage so Scottish went in to the half time leading in a close game.
In the second half Scottish came out with intent and Callum scored again just two minutes in. He was quickly followed by James who had spotted the same gap in Harlequins line and scored in the corner to take us to 4-1. Play swung but Alex saw an opportunity to run away with the ball pursued by Harlequins players who caught him close to the line but he was supported by a number of Scottish players who heaved him over the line to put it down 5-1. A scrum close to their try line saw Alex over again for a hat trick.
Our passing had improved but we were still being beaten in the ruck. Then, just as we were feeling invincible, there was a moment’s inattention and, despite sterling last minute defence, we couldn’t prevent a try for Harlequins. 6-2 Were we tiring? Substitutions followed giving Max a chance to run the full length of the pitch for 7-3. A fabulous tackle from Matt save us from conceding another but this led to a quick turn around and in the last play of the match James was over again for a final score of 8-3. Our defensive players had been great, working really hard to frustrate Harlequins and if ever there is a pile of boys, Arthur will be underneath it digging out the ball for Scottish!
U14 Match Report written Larry Moore
London Scottish 55 – 7 Old Albanians
Another convincing win for London Scots in this Herts and Middlesex League game despite the absence of injured captain Joey and three other unavailable members of the squad.
In a hard fought and closely contested first half it was not long before the home team posted the first score when Zaki finished off a solo run by Robbie who was playing back in his favoured full back role.
In the first half the pack got plenty of scrummaging practice courtesy of a number of knock ons and inconclusive breakdowns resulting from excellent jackaling and strong rucking by the visitors. OAs were rewarded when they scored a well taken try that was also converted and thereby took a 5-7 lead.
However, soon after an interception by Finlay that was followed by a scoring pass to Nikolaj was deemed offside by the excellent referee. Aside from that opportunity for the Scots, Old Albanians had the edge in play and were still dominating the breakdown and demonstrating excellent tackling prowess which stifled the Scots’ flow of possession from reaching the powerful backline. Nevertheless, after a tackle on the halfway line coughed up the ball Finlay set off on a straight line to the visitors try line and a few metres out sent an overhead pass into Robbie’s hands for him to chalk up his first try of the match.
With confidence returning to the Saltires, hooker Cristos set off on the type of busy bustling and rumbustious run that is becoming his trademark and that took his team to the opposition 22m line from where Finlay put in a speculative chip which bounced up kindly for him to dot the ball down, thus making the score at half time 17-5.
A healthy lead and the wind at their backs gave confidence to the Scots and so they were able to turn the screw in the second half and they were certainly helped by scoring right after kick off. Another strong run by Robbie followed by a feed to Nikolaj who put Bailey in for a well deserved try in the corner.
The home pack worked hard throughout the first half without much possession but now the efforts of Nicholas, Luke and Owen were paying off as the opposition tired and Robbie scored following a slick three-quarters passing movement and an offload by the ever industrious Nikolaj, who also converted. Robbie soon collected his hat trick from another long range sortie.
As the game opened up prop Alfie made a couple of impressive contributions with ball in hand out wide and Conor settled in well to his first game at fly half. Matteo then added a brace of tries: the first a break following a scruffy line out on the 10m line and the second from an excellent cross kick from scrum half Ben.
The home team’s forwards had kept up their work rate which the opposition could not match and gaps opened up for the home team to run through. As the game restarted Finlay gathered the ball and ran 60m for the final try. Nikolaj added his 5th conversion.
Man of the Match for the second match running was Edan who really seems to have found his niche in the second row.
U15 Match Report written by Ralph Eley
Tring 20 – 10 London Scottish
A league fixture against Tring. Win it and the U15s were guaranteed to remain in league 2. Lose it and it all comes down to the last league game in March. Scottish fielded a strong backs line up but were down two key forwards. Louie still recovering from a shoulder injury and SamLF, still recovering from flu. SamLF had turned up but was in no fit state to play. Tom valiantly stepped in as hooker for Scottish and ended up putting in a great shift for the Scots.
The first half kicked off and Scottish, playing into the wind, soaked up the initial pressure. Tring were strong in the ruck and counter ruck. To Scottish’s credit they avoided a very early try which has become an unwelcome trademark over the last few matches. However, despite valiant defence, after 10 minutes Tring went over the line for their first try. A gusty day meant the conversion was missed. 5-0.
The first half continued with wave after wave of Tring attack. The Scottish forwards unable to win ball for the backs and when they did the backs didn’t seem to know what to do with it. The rest of the half was played inside the Scottish 22. A mixture of brave defence led by the Scottish back row of Max, Jacob and Ted together with Nathaniel on the wing and Felix in the centres combined with errors from Tring at key moments meant the Scots went into half time with the score still at 5-0.
The second half kicked off with the wind behind Scottish. The boys had moved up to second gear and immediately start to attack Tring, working the phases into their 22 with some good runs by Felix. Finally Ben F launched a trademark try in the corner. The conversion was missed again but the Scots were back in it at 5-5. The restart went deep into the Scottish half and Tring managed a quick return with an unconverted try: 5-10 to Tring.
There was still time, the boys need to find third and even better still a fourth gear. The restart from Scottish was gathered by Tring on the left wing and the Scots missed a series of tackles letting Tring score another unconverted try, 5-15. Yet another restart and yet another quick try for Tring: 5-20 to Tring. The Scots fell asleep momentarily and shipped 3 tries in 15 minutes.
On the restart the Scots pressed forward but strong driving runs from props Timmy and Aaron were well defended by Tring. Going through the centres wasn’t working either and nor could the Scots seem able to get the ball out to the wingers where we have some strong runners.
The Scots now deep in the Tring 22, thanks to a massive run from a Felix, saw Timmy, Max and Jacob get the boys to within a metre from the try line but Tring defend well and finally won the ball back. A big kick upfield from Tring means the ball was back in the Scottish half yet Chris did a marvellous job in orchestrating the back line and the boys started to make progress out of the Scots half. An infringement by Tring and a great kick from Chris gave the Scots a line out 8 metres from the Tring try line. SamLF who had bravely decided to come on for the last 10 minutes play threw the ball into the lineout. The boys were straight into a rolling maul and made 5 metres. Tring brought the maul down. Chris kicked for a second lineout . Again into a rolling maul from the lineout and Jacob managed to ground the ball for a second unconverted Scottish try 10-20.
Last restart, but the clock ticked down too quickly and the whistle blew all too soon.
All in all a disappointing morning. A few good performances but not enough. It will all be down to the last match in March.