A gutsy second half performance by London Scottish U16s brought them a hugely valuable bonus point victory at Bishops Stortford.
The 27-19 win takes the U16s to the top of the table in Middx/Herts 4 following their opening day thumping of Letchworth.
New recruit Gary Hardy opened the scoring with a huge 60-metre run, holding off three tacklers as the inside-centre surged to the line after five minutes.
Stortford hit back with a converted try while Scottish skipper Joachim Ridley-Barker was in the sin bin following a characteristically vigorous tackle on his opposite number. Combative performances from Hamish Whitear, Connor Fraser and Brynley Hamer meant Scottish were dominating the breakdown and they soon retook the lead after a clean break by fly-half Taino Goveia, who flicked a perfectly timed pass to Henry Nicholson-Timms enabling the wing to score in the corner.
With ten minutes of the first half left Stortford began to assert themselves, forcing Scottish onto the backfoot. Two converted tries put the hosts 19-12 up at half time.
Scottish raced out of the blocks after the break, pressurising the home defence. Razor sharp hooker Andrew Conder pounced on a loose ball to score after prop Ollie Steafel charged down a desperate clearance kick on the Stortford line. That drew the sides level and moments later pugnacious centre Alex Wilson-Benson barged his way through three defenders to score edging Scottish in front.
Peerless fullback Richard Anderson added the extras, then a penalty to stretch the lead to a crucial 8 points. Scottish mounted a fearless rearguard action keeping the home side at bay for the last seven minutes despite another yellow card – this time for hard tackling fly-half Goveia.
The result means that Scottish have played two, won two, and sit top of the league, with their next match at home to Saracens.
Squad: Archie Brayley, Andrew Conder, Ollie Steafel, Brynley Hamer, George Bothamley, Hamish Whitear, Connor Fraser, Joachim Ridley Barker, Alex Collison, Max Lonsdale, Taino Goveia, Gary Hardy, Alex Wilson Benson, Henry Nicholson Timms, AJ Crittenden, Richard Anderson, Ross Edgar, Andrew Gatehouse