London Scottish claimed an impressive six-try victory in the Deutsche Bank Lion Dragon Challenge Cup as they defeated the Hong Kong Football Club Rugby 43-26 at HKFC Stadium.
Tries from Harry Allen, Mike Doneghan, Lewis Calder, Jim Thompson and Dan Newton, along with a penalty try, were enough to overcome a battling HKFC Rugby side, as well as the testing 30 degree conditions. The hosts were rarely out of the game and kept the pressure on with regular points from the kicking tee but Scottish, who fielded four debutants, held on for a commendable win.
Scottish had spent the previous two days acclimatising to the heat and humidity of Hong Kong, conditions entirely different from what they were used to back home at the Athletic Ground. And the early exchanges of the match suggested they had adapted well. Newton pushed Scottish into the lead with a well-struck penalty before Harry Allen rumbled over for the first try of the match after an excellent catch and drive from the lineout.
Winger Mike Doneghan was the next to cross the line as the new recruit profited from a slick backline move to score in the corner. Newton added a superb conversion from the touchline and Scottish had quickly established a 17-0 lead.
HKFC were soon right back in the contest, courtesy of a well worked try for James Richards as the hosts demonstrated their commitment to moving the ball at pace. The conversion and then a penalty then reduced the deficit to 7 points before Scottish grabbed their third try. More excellent work from the forwards from the lineout resulted in Lewis Calder touching down in the corner, though Newton missed a tricky conversion attempt.
No sooner than Scottish had scored, HKFC were again back in touch with their second try, successfully converted to narrow the gap to just 5 points. But Scottish had the last word of the first half, excellent hands creating a chance for Jim Thompson to finish in the corner. Newton nailed another sublime touchline conversion to leave the half time score at 29-17.
HKFC began the second half strongly and immediately set about clawing their way back into the game. Three penalties narrowed the gap to just 3 points as Scottish spent the first 20 minutes of the half on the defensive. But Newton then capped a fine debut match by crossing the line for Scottish’s fifth try of the evening before adding the extras to re-establish a healthy 10 point lead.
And Scottish wrapped up the game in the final 10 minutes with a penalty try after superlative work from the forward pack, particularly in such draining conditions. Newton’s conversion complemented a fine debut performance from the Welsh fly-half and took the final score out to 43-26.
A highly entertaining game played out in energy-sapping heat and great reward for the loyal band of travelling London Scottish supporters.