London Scottish and Plymouth Albion could not be separated at Brickfields this afternoon, playing out a turgid 12-12 draw in Round 15 of the Greene King IPA Championship
First half tries from Mark Bright and Miles Mantella and a Peter Lydon conversion were cancelled out by four Declan Cusack penalties in a game which neither side deserved to win.
Despite dominating both possession and territory, particularly in the second 40, Scottish made far too many uncharacteristic handling errors throughout.
Coupled with an infuriating penalty count against them, this was a game to forget for the Richmond outfit.
Nevertheless they came away with two points and with Nottingham Rugby losing heavily at Yorkshire Carnegie, the Scots are now two points better off than their closest rivals and have edged ever nearer clinching that coveted semi-final spot.
Scottish made a bright start with winger Matt Williams bundled into touch near the try line after good work by his inside backs before Scottish squandered a good attacking line-out five metres from Plymouth’s line.
However from the resulting scrum, Albion made a hash of things at the back of the set piece with the alert Mark Bright dotting down for the opening try.
Lydon kicked the conversion and Scottish were seven points up in as many minutes.
The visitors were penalised for being offside almost immediately, allowing Albion skipper Declan Cusack to kick three points for 3-7.
Plymouth then enjoyed a good spell of pressure and were rewarded midway through the half with Cusack’s second penalty which made it a one point game.
Scottish hit back and scored their second try eight minutes from half time.
After a spell of defending in their own half they eventually found themselves with an attacking line-out, five metres from Albion’s line.
Following a decent drive by his pack, scrum-half Jamie Stevenson darted to the blindside where he found Miles Mantella in space, the winger touching down unopposed in the left corner.
Lydon missed the conversion whilst at the other end Cusack was in fine kicking form, his third penalty making it 9-12 at the interval.
The second half was punctuated by errors from both sides with most play taking place in the middle of the park.
On the hour mark, Jamie Stevenson was held up over the try line after a fine 22 metre break from his own quick tap penalty.
Soon after Plymouth found themselves at the other end of the pitch and Cusack squared things up at 12 apiece with his fourth penalty.
Lydon nearly responded in kind moments later but his long range penalty attempt drifted narrowly wide.
Plymouth had good field position near the end but couldn’t make it count with both teams content to settle for a draw, as supporters headed for the exits following an 80 minutes they’ll want to quickly put to bed.
London Scottish next host Moseley at Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday, February 21, 3pm kick-off.
Fans can again take advantage of our Early Bird offer for the Moseley match with ALL adult tickets purchased ONLINE reduced by 20% – if bought before 11pm on Tuesday, February 17.
To take advantage of this offer, click here.
We also have a hospitality offer for this game for non-club members who can purchase an Adult Highlander (wing of stand) ticket together with Hospitality for just £45. Click here.
Richmond Card holders (excluding Visitor Richmond Cards) can get into the game for £10 (one Clan, standing, ticket per card holder) whilst Aviva Premiership club season ticket holders can watch London's ONLY Championship club for just £5 (one Clan, standing, ticket per season ticket holder) if they present their season ticket at the gate.
Under-16s get in for free (Clan, standing ticket).
London Scottish: 15, Peter Lydon, 14, Matt Williams, 13, Matt Hawke, 12, Harry Sloan, 11, Miles Mantella, 10, Dan Newton, 9, Jamie Stevenson, 1, James Hallam, 2, Adam Kwasnicki, 3, Ben Prescott, 4, Adam Preocanin, 5, Josh Thomas Brown, 6, James Phillips, 7, Chris Walker, 8, Mark Bright (c).
Used replacements: 18, Max Maidment, 20, Gregor Gillanders, 16, Mark Lilley, 19, Tai Tuisamoa, 17, David Cherry, 22, Lee Millar.
Unused replacements: 21, Matt Heeks.
Tries: Bright, 7mins, Mantella, 32mins
Conversions: Lydon, 7mins.
Yellow cards: Newton
Plymouth Albion: 15 Jack Arnott, 14 Josh Watkins, 13 Ben Woods, 12 T Howley-Berridge, 11 Ben Foley, 10 Declan Cusack capt, 9, Josh Davies, 1 Tom Fidler, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Andy Tiedemann, 4, Brett Beakeboom, 5 Tom Hicks, 6 Herbie Stupple, 7 Sam Simmonds, 8 Rhys Oakley.
Used replacements: 19 Iain Grieve, 16 Tedd Stagg, 21, Ruairi Cushion, 22 Lawrence Rayner, 17 Tom Heard, 18 Luke Chapman.
Unused replacements: 20 Jake Henry.
Penalties: Cusack, 8mins, 24 mins, 36mins, 67mins.
Referee: Matt Carley
Assistants: Michael Patz and Simon Adams.
Fourth Official: Mike Hudson.