A rainy night at The Bay did not dampen the spirits of Neil Fowkes’ Nottingham Rugby as they showed a complete performance to achieve a bonus point victory against London Scottish under the Friday Night Lights.
With both sides heading into the game without a win in this year’s Greene King IPA Championship, the match was poised to be a highly competitive affair but it would be the Green and Whites who would start with intent.
In the first four minutes, Nottingham dominated the ball, and, after an inspired pass from Shane O’Leary, Billy Robinson scored a try. O’Leary converted to give the hosts a 7-0 lead in the early stages.
This would foreshadow a period of scintillating attacking play from Nottingham, who looked threatening with every phase of play. Minutes after the Billy Robinson’s score, David Williams’ pace ran Scottish ragged, resulting in a try in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Not to be overshadowed by the backs’ fine attacking moves, it would be a forward who would be the next to score, as summer signing Will Owen forced his way over the line. Shane O’Leary converted from the tightest of angles to give Nottingham a 19-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.
After an intense, free-scoring opening few minutes, the game settled down. London Scottish saw more of the ball but could not penetrate the Nottingham defence. The slippery conditions proved to be tricky too, with numerous fumbles from the away side halting their progress on the pitch.
Nottingham capitalised on the away sides stuttered momentum, scoring their fourth try of the half when James Penman, who returned from injury to play in the fixture, showed his power to push his way over the line. O’Leary converted, leaving Nottingham with a 26-0 lead on the brink of half time.
As the whistle blew for half time, the hosts head into the changing room high on confidence. However, as London Scottish have proved in their previous fixtures this season, they are capable of coming back with the bang in the second half.
It would be Nottingham’s defence that would shine in the second half, as Scottish’s ability to bounce back saw them pressurise the home side for most of the forty minute period.
After 20 minutes in the second half, the away side struck first. Rob Stevenson scored after sustained attacking play from Scottish, who clearly were not going down without a fight.
Despite this, Nottingham won a penalty three minutes later and opted to kick at goal. Shane O’Leary’s kick was good and reestablished Nottingham’s control. However, the home side’s success was to be short-lived.
A flurry of fine attacking moves from Scottish set the game up for a cagey final 20 minutes as the away side clawed their way back into the fixture. After scoring a converted try to bring the score to 29-12 with 15 minutes to play, it would be Nottingham’s defence that would win the game.
After an incredible defensive display that saw the Green and Whites concede just once in the final ten minutes despite a mountain of pressure from Scottish, the final whistle blew, giving Nottingham their first win of the season.
FT Score – 29-12
Tries: Robinson; Williams; Owen; Penman
Conversions: O’Leary (x3)
Tries: Stevenson; Harding; Bright
Conversions: Jennings x2