London Scottish Bs 27-10 Old Priorians Saints, MIDDLESEX MERIT TABLE 2 PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL – 23 March 2013
Scottish emerged happily victorious from this hard fought semi-final where the outcome was in doubt until the last few minutes. Both teams deserve great credit for producing an enthralling match in the most miserable and difficult conditions, exemplified by the OP scrum-half needing ambulance treatment for exposure symptoms.
Old Priorians camped in the Scottish 22 for the first few minutes, looking the stronger in the scrum and maul but were repelled by stout Scottish defence until a penalty was converted for an early three point lead. From the restart, Scottish established good position and moved the ball well in the difficult conditions, but found themselves down to fourteen men with Cotterill carded for a body check. Scottish continued to have most of the play, but couldn’t break the determined OP defence, with May coming closest to a score but just forced out at the corner flag. Nearing half-time, Canning collected a second Scottish yellow card for not retreating when Priorians took a quick tap penalty.
Scottish exerted early second half pressure kicking into the bottom corner and Alkin equalised with a penalty. Priorians quickly responded with a series of driving mauls and pick and goes and scored the first try of the match after 49 minutes. Scottish returned to the bottom corner and mauled over the line with Leigh getting the touch down to close the gap to two points. They soon gained the lead with Marchant-Rowe and May successfully chasing a cross-kick over the line, with the latter claiming the score.
With just three points between the sides, a ding-dong battle ensued for the decisive score, which was jubilantly claimed by Scottish with an Alkin interception. Coach Du Rand came on to ensure a steady ship to close out the match and Sabau added the icing on the Scottish cake with a last minute kick and chase try. This was a stirring all-round team effort giving the lads great heart for the Middlesex final against London Cornish Choughs at Twyford Avenue, Acton on April 13th at 14.15.
Team: 15 Tommy Cotterill; 14 Charlie Marchant-Rowe, 13 Adam Webber, 12 Gregor Paterson, 11 Aaron Perrin; 10 Will Alkin, 9 Gruffydd Jones; 8 Stuart May, 7 Mike Howlett, 6 Eliot Fallon; 5 Dennis Gibson, 4 Mark Canning; 3 David Greene, 2 Fraser Millar, 1 Conor Turner.
Replacements: Tristan Deighton, Cameron Leigh, Corne du Rand, Delroy Sabou, Josh Graham, Jamie Bamford.
Tries: Leigh, May, Alkin, Delroy; Conversions: Alkin 2; Penalty: Alkin.
Scoring sequence: 0-3 (7 mins); 3-3 (45), 3-10 (49), 8-10 (53), 13-10 (55), 20-10 (74), 27-10 (80).
Conditions: Bitterly cold with strong wind blowing sleety snow across soft narrow sloping pitch with puddles on Old Deer Park.
Elsewhere, the Extra B's beat Ealing Amateurs 2nds 55-0 to reach the MMT3 final against either Wasps or Old Streetonians. It was a very good performance by the Extra B's to post that score in slippery conditions. Both teams have one more job to do this season which comes with a promotion if they finish the job well.
Team: 15; Paul Schapiro, 14, Jared Riki, 13; Jeff Bannister, 12; Simon Logan, 11; Steve Baker, 10; Nick Goh, 9; Nick Dunne, 8; Kieran McPate, 7 Andy Sager, 6; Steve Vincentt, 5; Kieran Tobin, 4; Phil Stokes, 3; Fraser, 2; Nick Harrison, 1; Brian Martin.
Replacements: Sam Robinson & Jimmy Noak
All the Middlesex Merit Table finals are being played at London Wasps' Twyford Avenue ground on the 13th of April 2013, with the MMT2 final at 14:15 and the MMT3 final at 14:00.