London Scottish – 05/03/2016

20London Scottish

26Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · March 5, 2016

London Scottish 20-26 Doncaster Knights.

Knights ensure playoff place for the first time since the introduction of the format with a maximum, five point, return against London Scottish

The Knights went on their travels in the Championship for the second time in as many weeks for round 18 of the Greene King IPA Championship as they headed to Richmond and the Athletic Ground. Jersey’s defeat of Nottingham on Friday evening meant the Knights knew a bonus point win against the Exiles would make them uncatchable in the top four. Much easier said than done but in an engrossing eighty minutes the Knights reversed a ten point deficit to score four tries and seal a massive victory in the Club’s history.

Last weekend the Knights prevailed after a slow start versus Cornish Pirates and would have wanted to be quick out of the traps today; however that was not to be the case. Confusion at the kick off let the ball bounce before eventually being fielded by Scottish who were very happy to throw possession around. Carrying dynamically, they twice looked to utilize their inside runners and twice broke the gain line doing so and on the second attempt broke clear to set up a two on one that Jason Harries, who was busy all game, gladly finished. Peter Lydon added the extras and the Knights trailed by seven with just seconds on the clock.

The hosts did not need to wait long to extend their lead when indiscipline in the Knights ranks lead to a brace of penalties the second of which was slotted by Lydon meaning that Donny were ten points behind with the game barely begun.

The Knights needed to find a foot hole in the game or risk being out of the contest before it had started. Solace was found in the set piece, the game’s first scrum brought a penalty which was put to touch by Simon Humberstone. A superbly executed, long line out was collected by Alex Shaw and the forwards quickly gathered to establish the drive, with forward momentum the try line beckoned and, to nobody’s surprise, Latu Makafi got over for the score. Dec Cusack added the extras, 10-7.

After the Knights try the game settled somewhat, the Knights continued to look strong at the set piece and the Scottish backs caused problems when permitted space to move; both sides created half chances but the defenses held firm.

Pressure from Donny forced a clearance that only made the 22m, many expected the forward would look to set up another maul but instead the ball was quickly spun to Simon Humberstone. The fly-half carried then handed off to the oncoming Will Hurrell who hit a lovely short line to collect and charge under the posts untouched and leave Cusack with a simple conversion.

Indiscipline nearly cost the Knights as the game creeped towards half time, the penalties cost the side field position and allowed Lydon to put his forward in the corner with one last attack. Jon Phelan produced a fine leap and used all of his 6’8” frame to steal the throw, the Knights cleared and shortly after the half came to an end.

The second half started similarly to the first, with Scottish hitting the ground running and the Knights playing catch up. Once again Jason Harries was the catalyst for the Scottish attack carrying powerfully through several tackles to break into the Scottish 22m. On the front foot the Exiles attacked forcefully, quickly moving the point of attack to stretch the Knights defense till eventually the ball was put wide and Harries finished the move he started with a second try. Lydon slotted the extras from the touchline and then quickly added a penalty as the Knights defence were caught offside at the restart.

From being four points up at half time the Knights found themselves trailing by six with less than ten minutes of the second half played and again needed to chase the game. Thankfully, as most who regularly watch the Knights will know, this team struggles to know when it is beat. Ben Hunter spotted a hole in the middle of a ruck and charged through to generate front foot ball which lead to a Knights penalty from a ruck infringement. The kick was put to touch and, having secured lineout ball, Makaafi carried only to be stopped a couple of metres short, a couple of pick and go phases followed before Michael Heaney fizzed a pass out to replacement prop WillGriff John who made no mistake to fight over the line.

It didn’t take long for the Knights to compound their lead as they touched down for the bonus point try just moments later. Once again Hunter and Heaney were central to the move carrying forward to put the side on the front foot before the ball was moved to the wide right where Andy Bulumakau needed no second invitation to gather and race away for a score. Cusack did well to navigate the conversion through the sticks and make the score 20-26.

The closing stages of the game brought plenty of drama with both sides playing plenty of entertaining, fluid rugby however the score stayed the same. Both benches made positive impacts to their sides with the Knights youthful front row replacements continuing the good work done by the stalwarts; List, Hunter and Quigley.

Next up the Knights have British and Irish Cup quarter final versus Cornish Pirates down in Penzance.

Match Statistics

London Scottish; 15) Peter Lydon 14) Jason Harries 13) Robbie Fergusson 12) Alex Grove 11) Sam Smith (Howard Packman 74’), 10) Dan Newton (Oli Grove 59’), 9) Matt Heeks (George Horne 53’), 1) Jack Cosgrove (James Hallam 59’) 2) Adam Kwasnicki 3) Matt Shields (Max Maidment 53’), 4) Rory Bartle (Will Carrick-Smith 43’), 5) Neale Patrick, 6) Evan Olmstead 7) Tinus du Plessis 8) Mark Bright (c)

Replacements; 16 Max Maidment, 17) James Hallam, 18) Tyrone Moran, 19) Will Carrick-Smith, 20) Oli Grove 21) George Horne, 22) Howard Packman

Tries; Harries 1’, 42’

Conv; Lydon 1’, 43’

Pens; Lydon 6’, 48’

Knights XV; 15) Dec Cusack, 14) Andy Bulumakau, 13) Mat Clark, 12) Will Hurrell, 11) Tyson Lewis (Brad Field 79’), 10) Simon Humberstone (Ollie Bryant 65’), 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Rich List (WillGriff John 48’), 2) Ben Hunter (Ted Stagg 74’), 3) Colin Quigley (Joe Sproston 65’), 4) Matt Challinor (Tyler Hotson 69’), 5) Jon Phelan (Glen Young 69’), 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Alex Shaw.

Replacements; 16) Ted Stagg, 17) Joe Sproston, 18) WillGriff John, 19) Tyler Hotson, 20) Glen Young, 21) Ollie Bryant, 22) Brad Field.

Tries; Makaafi 11’, Hurrell 31’, John 53’, Bulumakau 58’

Conv; Cusack 12’, 32’, 58’


Attendance; 1,089

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