Knights 9 London Scottish 19
Clinical Scottish prove too much for a Knights team who struggled to find their attacking edge
The Knights entertained London Scottish in the second of back-to-back Castle Park league encounters having lost out in the week previous versus Moseley. Scottish had suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Midlanders a fortnight ago but bounced back convincingly against Jersey.
At kick off the Exiles sat in third place in the Championship table with the Knights occupying eighth having slipped following successive league defeats.
On a gloomy November afternoon the Knights were slow to start. A knock on after a spirited chase by Tyson Lewis at the kick off gave the visitors a platform to build from and a clever chip ahead soon had Richard List scrambling into his own goal area. The Knights managed to clear their lines but at the subsequent line out were penalized and full back Peter Lydon opened to scoring with an on target penalty.
The visitors were on the attack again very soon after. Having gained field position following a penalty at the scrum they built on a line out from close range. Scrum half Matt Heeks broke smartly down the blind side and with winger Matty Williams in support the halfback was able to dart his way over for the game’s first score. Lydon could not add the extras but the Knights looked slightly shell-shocked, ten points behind after the opening 10 minutes.
The score served to wake up the home side who played with much improvement for the remainder of the first period. The very eager visiting defence toed the offside line very closely throughout and fell foul of the referee’s whistle on several occasions. Paul Roberts took advantage of one offside penalty with a long range touch finder and the Knights built an attack following powerful carries from Ben Hunter, Matt Challinor and Alex Shaw. The attack came to an end as full back Paul Jarvis was unable to hold on to the ball in contact much to the relief of the visiting defence.
The positive play continued from the Knights and following a penalty won by the pack at scrum time the forwards looked to attack from the corner. The driving maul was brought down illegally and Roberts went to the corner for a second time. Scottish stopped the drive and within the laws of the game this time so the pack looked to pick and go. They crept closer and closer to the visitors line but the London Scottish defence refused to part and eventually forced a knock on out of Tyler Hotson.
A second scrum penalty on the bounce for the Knights pack gave Dougie Flockhart a chance to put his side on the scored bored with just short of half an hour played. He made no mistake, 3-8.
Donny were unable to add further points in the first half and in fact it was Scottish who looked the more dangerous as the first period came to an end. A knock on deep in their own 22m put pressure on the home side but they were let off the hook as the Scottish pack gave up a free kick for an early engage and shortly after the ref blew for half time.
The Knights made a bright start to the second period and with some intelligent, clinical play in attack and defence were able to force errors from Scottish. Ben Hunter, who had an impressive afternoon, showed great pace in defence to force a penalty at the ruck and Flockhart took full advantage kicking the Knights to within just two points.
The Knights continued to play positively as the second half progressed but indiscipline handicapped the home side. They were let off on 50 minutes as Lydon dragged a penalty attempt wide as the Knights entered the maul from an offside position but the full back got another go just three minutes later and made no mistake.
A remarkable chip ahead from number 8 Alex Shaw almost created a chance for Paul Jarvis but Heeks was able to drop on the bouncing ball and the visitors won a penalty at the subsequent breakdown. Scottish built powerfully from the penalty a following a defensive mix up in the Knights midfield found themselves with plenty of numbers out wide. The ball was quickly put through hands and despite a valiant attempt from George Catchpole and Alex Shaw, winger Matt Williams was able to cross in the corner. The conversion fell wide but the Knights trailed by 10 points with only quarter of an hour to play.
With time running out Griff made a host of substitutions and the Knights looked to finish on a high. A lovely chip forward from Roberts was well chased by Dougie Flockhart, Flockhart’s opposite man Miles Mantella collected and the Scotsman bundled him into to touch. From the line out the Knights carried with purpose and were awarded a penalty but Flockhart could not convert.
As the clock approached 80 minutes the Knights went in search of a losing bonus point and seemed as if they’d seized it after George Catchpole broke and found Tyson Lewis in support. The winger was tackled into touch by Matt Williams but shortly after the line out Scottish were caught off side and Flockhart made no mistake, 9-16.
Scottish kicked the restart with 82 minutes on the clock and the Knights looked to mount one last attack, unfortunately a rush of blood to the head from second row Tyler Hotson saw the Canadian international off his feet at the ruck meaning the visitors had an immediate chance to restore their ten point advantage. Lydon made no mistake and with that Referee Gammage blew the whistle.
For the Knights it was an improved display on last Saturday and had they played like they did today versus Moseley would have likely won last weekend but ultimately it is a third league game on the trot where the Knights have ended with nil points.
Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) George Catchpole, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Tyson Lewis (Stephen Hihetah 78’), 10) Paul Roberts, 9) Bruno Bravo (Jack Maplesden 70’), 1) Richard List (Jack Cosgrove 68’), 2) Ben Hunter (Jack Bergmanas 75’), 3) Colin Quigley (Tiziano Pasquali 66’), 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Tyler Hotson, 6) Phil Eggleshaw (Latu Makaafi 60’), 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Alex shaw.
Replacements; 16) Jack Cosgrove, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Tiziano Pasquali, 19) Latu Makaafi, 20) Will Foden, 21) Stephen Hihetah, 22) Jack Maplesden.
Pens; Flockhart 29’, 44’, 80’
London Scottish XV; 15, Peter Lydon, 14, Matt Williams, 13, Lee Millar (Chris Auld 40’), 12, PJ Gidlow, 11, Miles Mantella, 10, Dan Newton, 9, Matt Heeks, 1, James Hallam (Mark Lilley 70’), 2, Adam Kwasnicki, 3, Ben Prescott (Max Maidment 60’), 4, James Phillips, 5, Gregor Gillanders (Tai Tuisamoa 52’), 6, Neil Best, 7, James Chisholm, 8, Mark Bright (c).
Replacements; 16, Mark Lilley, 17, David Cherry, 18, Max Maidment, 19, Tai Tuisamoa, 20, Chris Walker, 21, Ben Calder, 22, Chris Auld.
Tries; Heeks 11’, Williams 64;
Pens; Lydon 4’, 54’, 80’