Bravehearts Well Beaten By Lionhearts

By GW - August 15 2006
Bravehearts Well Beaten By Lionhearts
Paddy MacDonald Scotland were beaten 46-14 by England Lionhearts in the final Skanska Four Nations Championship amateur international of the season at Braidholm in Glasgow on Sunday.
Scotland were always behind but were in contention for nearly an hour before the visitors pulled away, scoring twice in the last minute. Although that distorted the score, their five conversion misses tells the tale.

Scotland's chances were hit by the withdrawal of three players on the morning of the game, all injured playing club games the day before - Dene Miller, Ricthy Hawkyard and Dave Birchall - forcing coach Nathan Graham to recall the three stand-by players all of whom had also played the previous day: Mark Webster, Bryan Aspinall and Dougie Thomson. Although all three had played earlier this season, they were, understandably, not in peak physical or mental condition.

England took immediate advantage, David West scoring from Karl Wesley's break down Scotland's right after five minutes and repeating the twick two minutes later. PADDY MAcDONALD reduced the deficit to 2-10 with a penalty for offside and when ROB SMART showed good footwork on the right to score his third try for Scotland and MACDONALD converted after 15 minutes, there were just two points in it.

But England again scored two almost identical tries on Scotland's right flank through excellent loose forward Gary Keegan and Wesley, repeating their earlier double blow as Smart and the injured Thomson were cruelly exposed. Steve Froggatt's conversionsd made it 8-22 at the break. Thomson's hand injury saw him leave the fray as Scotland headed formthe dressing rooms knowing they had to score first if they were to save the game.

Unfortunately it was Wesley who did the damage again, granted a disputed try in England's left corner when he did not appear to ground the kick through. Froggatt missed the conversion attempt so if Tom Wild had held onto Ian Gilmour's short ball under the posts Scotland would have narrowed the gap to 12 points. They did so a few minutes later when the impressive young centre KEVIN LANG took a short ball and made a determined run for the line, MacDonald converting for 14-26.

But instead of putting England under pressure, Scotland fell apart. Twice in six minutes England scored on Scotland's left this time through Wesley for his hat-trick and Richard Whitehouse, neither being unduelly troubled on their way to the line. Froggatt and Marco Rossi both missed the kicks but Scotland were still 20 points down with nearly 20 minutes left.

They had three more openings but failed to take any of them and were forced to watch Froggatt and West - for his hat-trick - score in the last minute, with the final frustration of West dropping the ball going unnoticed by the otherwise impressive emergency referee Nick Evans.

1 Andy Brown (Fife Lions)
2 Dougie Thomson (Edinburgh Eagles)
20 Rob Smart (Army)
4 Andy Todd (Edinburgh Eagles)
5 Mark Webster (Liverpool Buccaneers)
6 Ian Gilmour (Leicester Phoenix)
21 Al Stewart (Liverpool Buccaneers)
8 Ash Carroll (Edinburgh Eagles)
9 Niall MacDonald (Edinburgh Eagles)
10 James Mackay (Carlisle Centurions)
16 Nick Surtees (St Albans Centurions)
18 Kevin Lang (Glasgow Bulls)
13 John Macdonald (Edinburgh Eagles)
Subs (all used):
11 Scott MacGillivray (Fife Lions)
23 Bryan Aspinall (Fife Lions)
22 Fraser Stirling (Kingston Warriors)
30 Tom Wild (Edinburgh Eagles)

1 Richard Whitehouse – Telford Raiders
2 David West – Ipswich Rhinos
3 Karl Wesley – Leicester Phoenix
4 Steve Froggatt – Featherstone Lions
5 Mark Hirst – Huddersfield Underbank Rangers
6 Scott Pendlebury – Bramley Buffaloes (Captain)
7 Mark Roach – Thorne Moor Marauders
8 Marco Rossi – Bradford Dudley Hill
9 Chris Spiers – Blackpool Sea Eagles
10 Dan Reeds – Lincoln City Knights
11 Lee O’Connor - Bradford Dudley Hill
12 Carl Leach – Widnes Saints
13 Gary Keegan - Huddersfield Underbank Rangers
Subs (all used):
14 Ant Wraith – Ormskirk Heelers
15 Andy Lake – St Albans Centurions
16 Adam Brown - Huddersfield Underbank Rangers
17 Michael Smith - East Lancashire Lions