London Scottish U18’s, sponsored by Friends of Scottish Rugby, got the second half of the season underway with an enjoyable league win away at our near neighbours Teddington.
After a poor warm up, and on a muddy greasy pitch, you would have been forgiven if you had thought today wasn’t going to be Scottish’s day. But the lads put the dropped balls from the warm-up behind them and settled in quickly for what turned out to be at times a tense, even, match between the two teams. Teddington kicked off and put the Scots under pressure in their 22 for the opening 10 minutes. The Scots held out began putting pressure back on Teddington before making inroads into the Teddington half. From a ruck in midfield Teddington infringed, pulling the 9 into the ruck. The Scots chose a scrum at the penalty and from it made a great backline break before Ben N latched onto the ball and made big dent in their defence. The ball spilled loose, but advantage was being played and Scots went back for a penalty on the Teddington 22m.
23 minutes had passed, and still neither side had a point on the board, but the Scots were comfortable in their structure, and weren’t lulled into pushing too hard if the play wasn’t on. Eventually the breakthrough came, a little fortuitously, after Teddington had camped on the Scots line for a period. Teddington tried their driving maul, then went right and back left, but the Scottish defence held firm. A pass went to ground and was pounced on by Ted who hacked the ball upfield and gave chase with a posse of Teddington players on his heels. He hacked on again, controlling the ball well at speed, and as his legs started to tire Gabe chasing up from the right wing was there to fall on the ball as it went over the line for the first try. Max converted from in front of the posts and the Scots were 7-0 up.
Teddington got straight back into things from the kick-off and gained a penalty on our 22. They kicked for the corner and again tried their driving maul, but again the Scots defence held out and Max relieved the pressure with a kick to the half-way line. A bit of indiscipline from Teddington helped the Scottish cause as they held on at the ruck and then talked back to the ref to give Scottish an easy 10 metres taking them deeper into the Teddington half. Scottish kicked to the corner, but then lost the lineout allowing Teddington to take play up to their 10m line. Archie was the next to shine as he won the breakdown and gained a penalty which we kicked into their 22. Jackson then made a great break, and Archie took the ball on at the next phase, but the attack faltered and there was no further score as the half time whistle went. 7-0 to the Scots at the half.
The half time talk was all about body height and playing for territory and the Scots did exactly that from the restart. Playing deep in Teddington’s half they started applying some good phases before Jackson broke through to score as the pressure told. Max put in an excellent kick from the touch line to take the score to 14-0. The Scots kept the pressure on and a kick from Ted landed just outside Teddington’s 22 before it was kicked straight into touch. Scots back for the lineout. Soon they won another penalty and kicked for the corner to give a lineout 5m out. After the initial maul was stalled Thomas broke from the back and burrowed for the line for the Scots third try, 19-0. Max again got the extras from out wide to take the score to 21-0.
Teddington then got one back as they aimed at the inside shoulder and the Scottish midfield had too many people to cover. 21-7 after the conversion was added. Shortly afterwards we went to uncontested scrums as Teddington suffered an injury to their front row. This guaranteed ball at the scrum so several of the penalties awarded led to scrums from here on. Teddington were unlucky not to get a second try as they kicked through, but the Scots just managed to get back in defence and hold them out before Max torpedoed the kick back to the half-way.
The Scots ramped it up for the final 5 minutes, spending the whole time pecking away at the Teddington line. Teddington’s defence was up to it though and just managed to keep the Scots out and deny them the bonus try. So, the game ended 21-7 to the Scots.
It was good to see the boys control large parts of the game and cope with whatever was thrown at them, so we look forward to the coming matches and the return vs Teddington in a few weeks’ time. Next week Scottish play Hitchin at home in a friendly, so why not come along and watch them play.