It may seem improbable given the scoreline but this vital u16s league victory was founded on rock solid defence.
For more than 10 minutes at the start of each half Barnet laid siege to the Scottish line repeatedly driving forward through phase after phase in search of a try. But for some ferociously determined tackling by forwards and backs alike the complexion of the game – and the outcome – might so easily have been very different.
Scottish opened the scoring after initial Barnet pressure with a sweeping right to left move inside the opposition half, the ball passing through six pairs of hands before centre Gary Hardy touched down in the corner then brilliantly converted his own try from the touch line.
A gusting wind was making handling hazardous but by mid-way through the half Scottish were beginning to dominate possession and territory with Connor Fraser delivering a feast of clean line-out ball and the entire pack scrummaging and rucking aggressively.
As an attack broke down close to Barnet's line they sent a desperate relieving kick towards half way only to see Scottish fullback Richard Anderson gather the ball and set off on a characteristically fast mazy run. He beat three men before passing to fly half Taino Goveia who deftly stepped outside his man then slipped the ball back to Anderson who elegantly finished the move he'd begun.
Ahead 12-0 at half time Scottish came under intense pressure from the visitors at the start of the second half but the defence held firm. A huge boot from Anderson and a couple of thunderous drives from no8 Joachim Ridley-Barker quickly took Scottish inside the opposition 22. As the game opened up, lively front-rower Archie Brayley gathered a loose ball and, displaying a remarkable turn of speed, outflanked covering defenders for a score converted by Anderson.
From that point on Scottish camped in Barnet's 22. A series of charges spearheaded by the forwards created opportunities for Goveia and Hardy who were proving a handful for the Barnet defence. Hardy found space to go over for his second try earning Scottish a bonus point and moments later his centre partner Alex Wilson-Benson blasted over Jamie Roberts-style from close range.
Anderson neatly converted both tries to complete the scoring allowing Scottish to resume their position at the top of the Herts/Middx league – and keep their promotion quest on track.
Archie Brayley, Andrew Conder, Ollie Steafel, George Bothamley, Connor Fraser, Hamish Whitear, Oscar Thorpe, Joachim Ridley-Barker, Alex Collison, Taino Goveia, Jay Hansjee, Gary Hardy, Alex Wilson-Benson, AJ Crittenden, Richard Anderson, Brynley Hamer, Ross Edgar, Andrew Gatehouse, Henry Nicholson-Timms.