Doncaster 19 London Scottish 17

After a disappointing defeat at home to Ealing Trailfinders the previous week, new signings Curry and Atkins were thrown straight into the starting line-up for London Scottish, writes Joe Luca Smith.

Brought in to provide cover for an injury depleted Scottish squad, the two signings were keen to make a big impact, and get Scottish back to winning ways.

5th placed Doncaster made almost no changes to the team that blew Nottingham away 27-6 on their last league outing; Klim returns after a couple of weeks out for a knee injury, and Tom James is in for his 6th start of the campaign.

It had been raining most of the day in Doncaster, but had just about cleared come kick off. The conditions remained wet, cold and windy, however the Knights were keen to start quickly.

Immediately they got hold of the ball, and began going through the phases along halfway. But every player had a wall of light blue & tartan in front of them, so their attacks went nowhere. Hits from Chris Walker, new boy Curry, captain Miller, Tyas and Appiah kept the Knights on the back foot, even though they had possession.

It was Scottish who put points on the board first; Scottish went through the phases in the 22, and a penalty against the Knights gave Atkins the perfect opportunity to open his account on his debut. LSFC 3-0 Knights.

The Knights continued to go through the phases, but the Scottish defence was up so fast, they couldn’t get beyond the Scots 10m line. Atkinson, Tyas, Appiah continued to dominate at the breakdown, and the Knights couldn’t come up with an answer of how to get past them.

Eventually, after 22 minutes, the Knights got over the gain line and into the 22. Scottish were penalised for offside, and Humberstone duly stepped up to level the scores, LSFC 3-3 Knights.

Whilst the Knights enjoyed the majority of possession, they couldn’t make any of it count. On the half hour mark, the Knights knocked on under pressure, which got scooped up by Holland who broke down the wing. The Knights got penalised at the ensuing breakdown, so Scottish secured a 5m line out.

From the line out that followed, the dominant Scottish pack pushed the Knights defence back to their try line; the Knights put in some huge hits, but Marley spotted the gap in their line & dived to score. Atkins converted easily, LSFC 10-3 with 33 minutes played.

The final 5 of the half were all Knights, but they couldn’t break down, or through, the Scottish defence. They had a 5m scrum on the 39th minute, but the Scots sent them backwards and reeling in every direction to secure the ball, and see out the first half.

The Knights came out in the second half, looking to get some early points on the board. They went through a number of phases on the halfway line again, but continued to struggle to breach the Scots defence.

Their breakthrough eventually came on the 47th minute, Klin, who had a superb game, stormed down the wing, and was only stopped short by Holland. At the ensuing breakdown, Scottish were penalised, and Humberstone took an easy three points, LSFC 10-6.

Scottish had their turn to attack minutes later; the Scots surged forward from a line out, after a couple of phases Miller picked out Walker, who fed it to Atkinson, who ran an excellent line, as he sprinted to the try line. Atkins converted to extend the Scottish lead, LSFC 17-6 Knights.

A mistake from Scottish on 54 minutes in the centre of the park; a forward pass that bobbled loose, was scooped up by Lewis who shrugged off his tackler and, with an incredible turn of speed, dotted down in the corner. After a quick consultation with his assistant, the ref awarded the try. From the touchline, Humberstone couldn’t convert, LSFC 17-11 Knights Another error from Scottish on 63 minutes let the Knights back in the game; Scottish moved the ball wide, but knocked it on, Klim picked it up and broke again. Alex Walker dragged him down centimetres short of the try line, but on his shoulder was Hills who picked it up to score. Humberstones conversion attempt hit the post making it LSFC 17-16 Knights.

In to the final 10 minutes, it was edge of your seat of your seat rugby; both sets of supporters were screaming at their team, urging them on.

Scottish went through some good phases of rugby, but they were on the back foot, trying to keep the Knights out. The Knights moved the ball along the Scots 10m line and were going nowhere, when Scottish were penalised. Foley stepped up to score the penalty from 40m out… with five minutes to go, LSFC 17-19 Knights.

In the final minutes, neither side was able to put together anything meaningful; Scottish went through the phases along halfway, but couldn’t break through. A knock on gave the Knights the ball, and they duly put it out to end the game.

A hugely entertaining game of rugby, with some exceptional defensive work from Scottish. Stand out performance again from Isaac Miller, as well as Oli Curry & Jacob Atkins who were both making their debuts, and Joe Atkinson.

London Scottish: Appiah; Miller (c); McQuillin; Tyas; Curry; Marley; C. Walker; Atkinson; A. Walker; Atkins; Williams; Lyle; Neal; J.L. Smith; Holland // Replacements: George; Christie; Cringle; Milne; Eiet; Hoadley; Hayhow Tries: Marley; Atkinson; Conversion: Atkins (x2) Penalty: Atkins

Doncaster Knights Jarvis; Wilson; Klim; Clark; Lewis; Humberstone; James; List; Hunter; Quigley; Challinor; Hicks; Ram; Hills; Tyrell // Replacements: Nelson; Bergmanas; Sproston; Eames; Hill; Heaney; Foley Tries: Lewis; Hills Conversion Penalty: Humberstone (x2) Foley