London Scottish reign supreme in Green King IPA Championship after beating Bedford Blues 36-30 at Richmond Athletic Ground

Man-of-the-match Jamie Stevenson admitted his side were breathing a sigh of relief after a second-half backlash from Bedford threatened to end London Scottish’s perfect start to the season today.

Scottish looked to be cruising at the Athletic Ground, Richmond after securing the try-bonus point before half-time but Bedford came storming back with three second-half tries of their own.

Despite spending the last five minutes camped inside the Scottish 22, Bedford could not find their way through the home side’s at times frantic defence.

“It was a little bit closer than we’d have liked!” said scrum-half Stevenson, who had earlier scored two well-taken tries to help his side build a commanding lead.

He continued: “That try early in the second-half for them set the tone. It gave them belief and we let our foot off the gas.

“We didn’t quite get the performance right in all areas, but the result is the most important thing and continues a perfect start to the season.”

Scottish remain top of the league after their third bonus-point win in a row and they were fast out of the blocks once again, Matt Williams finishing off a great move that saw Mark Bright and Stevenson involved before a perfect cross-kick from Dan Newton gave his winger the easiest of touchdowns.

Another fine break from Stevenson led to PJ Gidlow crashing over from close range in the eleventh minute and gave Scottish an early 14-3 lead.

Bedford were making sloppy errors, twice kicking out on the full and struggling to handle the impressive line speed of the well-disciplined Scottish defence.

They did hit back against the run of play, a clever line-out move freeing scrum-half Peter White down the five-metre channel and, following some quick feet by fly-half Steffan Jones in midfield, James Pritchard scored a try that he converted himself for 14-10.

Following an outstanding 60-metre run by Matt Williams that resulted in a kickable penalty, Scottish instead opted to go for the corner, and from a line-out drive captain Bright dotted down for already his seventh try of this fledgling campaign.

Scottish had by far the dominant scrum, and on the stroke of half-time managed to disrupt a  Bedford put in on their own five metre line to such an extent that Stevenson was able to scoop the ball up and dot down unopposed, the teams leaving the field at 26-13.

A poor missed tackled by centre Mike Doneghan just after the restart allowed Pritchard through and he easily drew the full-back to send Dean Adamson in under the posts.

Stevenson hit back after Harry Wells had been sin-binned for Bedford, peeling off the back of a line-out drive to dart over in the corner and give his side some breathing space at 36-20 heading into the final quarter.

But as the substitutions started to roll on en-masse, Scottish started to lose their shape.

After a lovely break from Bedford substitute Jim Wigglesworth gave them field position, Jake Sharp put a perfect chip over the top for centre Michael Le Bourgeois to walk in. The relatively easy conversion was missed, however, and the score remained 36-25.

And very poor defence in the wide channels by Scottish allowed Bedford winger Pat Tapley to canter in from the half-way line for the away side’s try-bonus point, though once again the conversion was missed, the score 36-30 and those four points squandered from the tee looking costly.

Scottish at this point had lost all their composure and looked there for the taking as Bedford hammered away on their try-line, at one point seemingly getting the ball over only for referee Dean Richards to say the grounding was inconclusive.

And in the final frantic exchanges the home side just about managed to hold on to what had earlier looked like being another comfortable win.

It is a long season, and far too early to be talking about promotion chances, but Scottish have a perfect 15 points from 15 and sit top of an admittedly highly competitive Green King IPA Championship, albeit with far sterner tests to come.

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