Greene King IPA Championship Rugby returned to the Bay on a bitterly cold Friday evening as the Green and Whites battled for a hard-fought 17-14 victory against London Scottish. A penalty and two successful conversions from Tom Matthews with tries from Luke Peters and Luke Cole sealed a deserved win under the floodlights on Trentside.
Nottingham drew first blood early on when they were awarded a penalty just beyond the 22 in the fourth minute. Tom Matthews stepped up and confidently scored the first three points of the night.
A cagey spell followed with neither side able to break through until the 23rd minute when, after a spell of strong pressure, the visitors found the breakthrough. A well worked move stretched the Green and Whites defence and Luke Hibberd was able to leap across the try line. Harry Shepard successfully converted for The Exiles and extended the lead to 3-7.
Nottingham battled back and could have been ahead on the half-hour mark when Oisin Heffernan went over after a brilliant attacking move from the Green and Whites. However, any celebrations were soon cut short after the referee ruled that the ball had been dropped and the visitors were able to get the ball clear in the next play.
The Green and Whites enjoyed a spell of dominance towards the end of the first half but were unable to break down a resilient London Scottish back line. With the visitors refusing to budge, the half came to an end with Nottingham trailing by four points.
We got play back underway for the second half hunting for a way back into the game and soon found it. Luke Peters got on the end of a good piece of build-up play and bagged the hosts’ first try of the night. Matthews’ conversion was good and the Green and Whites were back into the lead after 45 minutes.
It took another twenty minutes for the Green and Whites to break through again. A massive maul on the Exile’s try line gave way, allowing Luke Cole to grab a well-deserved second try for Nottingham on the 64th minute. Again, Matthews stepped up and again he successfully converted to give Nottingham a 17-7 lead midway through the second half.
The two sides continued to battle it out in the closing stages of the second half. Both sides got bogged down in middle of the pitch until a tricky run down the right by Sam Lewis got the Green and Whites back on the front foot. A penalty followed for Nottingham, but Matthews put his kick narrowly wide of the posts with two minutes to go.
Nottingham bravely tried to hold on to their ten-point lead but a late try by Harry Barnes and a successful conversion from Hibberd with the last kick of the game brought the final score to 17-14.