London Scottish gave home fans cause for seasonal cheer at the Athletic Ground, with their tenth successive National League 1 victory against a determined Tynedale side.
Scottish ran in four tries to claim the bonus point, where the picture at the top of the table still remains unchanged from previous weeks. London Scottish is still in the number two spot, moving ever closer in points to that coveted top position.
A strong performance from the Scottish pack built the platform for the team’s victory, only on a calm winter’s afternoon the visitors opened the scoring on the three minute mark. A penalty on the 11th minute for pulling down gave Frankie Neale the opportunity to get the first points on the board for the hosts. Seven minutes later, Scottish moved into the lead after the full back converted a try from hooker Ben Lonergan. Another penalty goal, this time for offside, saw Neale extend his side’s lead to 13-7 on the 26th minute of the game.
Running up to half-time, Lonergan added his second try of the afternoon. This score came after a penalty to Scottish had been kicked into the corner, followed by a lineout five metres from the Tynedale line. The resulting rolling maul gave London Scottish starting hooker the chance for touch, which Neale converted and made the score 20-7 to Scottish at half time.
Three minutes after the restart, a penalty from Tynedale added three points to the visitors score, which was closely followed by a try from Arthur Ellis, on as a replacement for Lonergan. This made for a joint hat-trick of tries for the Scottish hookers, where once again Neale’s aim was true as he put the hosts in a 27-10 lead.
On the hour, Tynedale’s continual effort throughout the afternoon saw them restore the gap to ten points. Scottish swiftly responded through a try from inside centre replacement Gary Trueman, in which Neale once more added the conversion.
Tynedale still refused to give up. On the 72nd minute of the game the visitors claimed what proved to be the last score of the match, through a try and a conversion to make the final score London Scottish FC 34 – 22 Tynedale RFC.
London Scottish head coach Brett Taylor said after the game, “We played pretty well against a side that wanted to come here and play rugby, we started with a lot of energy but they managed to get over the line first, it was a really good test of rugby for us today.”
Next week, Scottish will make the short trip across South London to play Blackheath, who lie third from bottom of the table. Brett Taylor will be looking for his side to round off the first half of the campaign in winning fashion, saying: “We need to keep doing what we’re doing, it’s a derby, we’ll get together on Monday and look forward to Blackheath and then we’ll focus on January,” with reference to a testing schedule in the new year, that pits the team against the three other members of the top four teams in the league. With those home games against Cambridge and Esher follow, punctuated by a trip to Cornwall to face Launceston.
London Scottish 34 (Tries: Lonergan (2), Ellis, Trueman; Conversions: Neale (4); Penalties: Neale (2))
Tynedale: 22 (Tries: Gavin Beasley, Ingall, Smales; Conversions: Belgian (2), Smales; Penalty: Belgian)
London Scottish: Neale, Broughton, Damant, McInroy, Howells, J Brown,
Amor, C Johnson, Standfield, Fahey, Karonias, Smith, O Brown, Lonergan, Lipp (Replacements: Culley, Palmer, Ellis, Grant, Trueman)
Tynedale: Allen, Cole, Harrison, Belgian, Ingall, Grant Beasley, Shaw, Williams, Graham, Dickinson, Whitehead, Showler, Gavin Beasley, Rastall, Murray (Replacements: Smales, Pait, Jupp, Fieldhouse, Dunn)