The annual match between London Scottish Under 21 Students and Richmond took place last Sunday, 2nd January.
This is the ninth match in the ‘modern’ series of these historic fixtures, which originally started as a Scotland Schoolboys v England Schoolboys match on New Year’s Day in the early part of the 20th century. This is the first time ever that the match has been played other than on new Year’s Day. However, it was Richmond’s home match this time around and they decided to dispense with tradition and move the date. Ironically, New Year’s Day 2011 turned out to be quite a wet in the afternoon, whereas on Sunday, the playing conditions were near-perfect for the time of year.
As always, the match was played in front of large, partisan and good-spirited crowd with around 500 turning up to blow away the festive cobwebs. In the early exchanges, Richmond appeared the more confident side and were able to string together a number of moves which put the Scots under early pressure. Scottish defended well, however, and cleared their lines on a number of occasions and eventually put together some fine moves of their own. However, many incursions into the Richmond 22 resulted in too many turnovers with knock-ons, ball lost in tackle etc. Scottish eventually conceded a kickable penalty on 11 minutes for not rolling away at a ruck and Richmond duly converted to take the lead (0-3). This seemed to waken up the Scots who came back strongly, but just couldn’t convert the chances they created. Richmond also defended heroically on their 5m line on a number of occasions. Scottish did manage to go over the line before half-time, but the referee had said the ball was spilled when grounding. Many in the crowd near the try line disagreed ! Scottish persistence eventually paid off when they were awarded a penalty on 32 minutes which Ross McGowan knocked over (3-3). The score remained that way until the interval.
Richmond came firing out of the blocks in the second half and after some fine handling took the ball over the Scots line and added the conversion (3-10). Scottish continued to give away penalties and a long-range effort from the centre line by the Richmond fly-half only just fell short of the crossbar. Needless to say, it was another penalty on 63 minutes that the Scots gave away and the Richmond 10 added another 3 points (3-13). With just under 20 minutes to go, Scottish put together some fine moves and ran at the Richmond line a number of times, only to come away empty-handed. However, their persistence was rewarded on 73 minutes when Callum Grant went over in the left-hand corner. McGowan failed to add the extras. (8-13). Scottish continued to pummel the Richmond defence, but it held firm and the score ended, 8-13 to Richmond. They duly collected the ‘Rocky Skinner Trophy’ and now go 6-3 up in the ‘modern’ series between the two clubs. Scottish will reflect well on a day of , ‘what could have been ….’
Congratulations to both teams on a great performance.
London Scottish man-of-the-match – Anthony Kent.