By David Mitchell, Date: 27/7/12
Scotland U18 were unable to build on a competitive first half as they fell to a heavy defeat at Sunnyside.
The young Scots trailed 10-4 at the break, Hull KR scrum-half Louis Senterâ€™s unconverted try bookended by two from England centre Pete Szwandt. But the visitors raised their game after the interval and prop Craig Fairfieldâ€™s try was the only Scottish highlight in a largely one-sided second half.
Scotland will now look to bounce back from this reverse when they travel to England for the return match on August 18th.
Scotland got off to a less than ideal start, knocking the kick-off reception on and then infringing at the resulting scrum. Szwandt then darted in behind the posts on the ensuing set to give scrum-half Danny Price a straightforward conversion.
The home side tried to respond and on 9 minutes winger Ruaridh Cuthbertson looked set to score in the corner, only to be forced into touch before he was able to get the ball down. They did not have much longer to wait for their try however, as shortly afterwards they forced a turnover in midfield and after a patient set in the England half, Senter forced his way over on the right. He was unable to convert his own try, leaving the score at 6-4 to the visitors after 15 minutes.
Defences were increasingly on top as the half progressed but it was the visitors who were looking the more likely to score, and they duly did so on the stroke of half time through Szwandtâ€™s second of the afternoon. Scotland looked to have survived a penalty set deep in their half but a knock-on was ruled against them when the ball ran loose, keeping the pressure on, and Szwandt crossed on the right on the resulting set. Price missed the conversion on this occasion and the sides turned round with the visitors leading 10-4.
Scotland began the second half determined to get the back in the game, but were unable to finish on a dangerous set on the England try line, eventually losing control of the ball. This missed opportunity was immediately and ruthlessly punished by the visitors, who worked upfield from the resulting scrum and sent Price racing clear for a try which he converted himself.
That took the score to 16-4 and minutes later it was 22-4 when the home side were penalised on the set after the kick-off, and this time winger Brad Ibbison applied the finishing touch to give Price another routine conversion.
England were in control at this point and determined not to let their opponents off the hook as they increased their lead still further. On 55 minutes, aided by a deterioration in the home sideâ€™s discipline, they enjoyed a dangerous spell of pressure on the Scotland try line which finally led to lock forward Danny Mellor touching down on the right. Then three minutes later, substitute Jordan Topping scored a try of his own from a scrum after the hosts had knocked on in midfield. Danny Price converted both to take the score to a decisive 34-4 in the visitorsâ€™ favour.
Scotland finally got on the board on 62 minutes when they recovered the kick-off and won a penalty on the resulting set. They needed two bites of the cherry but Fairfield managed to score under the posts to give the Scots supporters in the crowd something to cheer about, even if it was unlikely to be anything other than a consolation. Senterâ€™s conversion got the hosts into double figures.
England wasted no time in regaining the initiative however, with first centre Dougie Foster scoring on the resulting set after the visitors had forced a goal line drop-out, and shortly afterwards substitute Alex Ford crossing on the right and touching down behind the posts following a turnover forced in the Scotland half. Price converted the latter to take the score to 44-10 after 69 minutes.
There was no further scoring as the visitors were content to see the game out for a well-deserved victory.
SCOTLAND U18 â€“ C Turnbull; R Cuthbertson, F Smeaton, F Haston, N Alexander; G Johns, L Senter; D McGillivray, L Clarke, C Fairfield, S Connolly, C Brown, G Reed.
Interchange: C Rennie, R McConville, D McNeil, J Plumridge, G Sutherland, I Allen, F McTaggart.
ENGLAND COLLEGES â€“ L Savage; J Goddard, D Foster, P Szwandt, S Rooke; A Haynes, D Price; L Wood, D Fallon, R Kelsey, J Binks, J Walton, D Mellor.
Interchange: B Ibbison, A Ford, A Hall, H Baines, J Topping, J McGechean, J Bachelor.