England Counties XV 37, Scotland Clubs XV 3
Fylde’s biggest crowd of the season – an estimated 1,200 – were rewarded for their support by a win for England Counties over Scotland Clubs in the first-ever meeting between the two countries at this level
Leading 15-3 at the break, two tries in the space of three minutes at the start of the second half, put paid to any chance of the dogged, but out-classed Scots getting back into it.
England rubbed in their obvious superiority with six tries with only a Scottish penalty by way of reply.
Biggest cheer on a rousing night came for Evan Stewart’s try on his England Counties’ debut, though he limped off injured 10 minutes from time.
It was almost as loud when Fylde team-mate Jordan Dorrington replicated the feat late on.
Fylde’s Chris Johnson gave England a fourth minute lead as he slotted over a penalty.
England then capitalised on a spilled ball, the counter-attack being rounded off with an opportunist try after a searing blindside run by speedy scrum-half Joe Bedford.
England, who called up Fylde second row Paul Arnold to assist with the coaching for this international, made a sterling attempt to increase their lead as they started to pound the Scottish line, skipper Billy Johnson being prominent in this incursion – several team-mates joined in the attack, but referee Robert Price ruled that the last man attempting to go over the line had been held up.
But England did not have to wait long for their next score - from a scrum near the Scots’ line, England continued to pound away, and it was Stewart, who joyously plunged through a posse of defenders to claim a try –Johnson added the goal points.
Close to half-time Scotland forced a penalty and scrum-half Graham Wilson got his country’s first points on the board close to half-time.
Johnson missed a long-range penalty minutes later,.
Billy Johnson strengthened England’s grip with a marauding, captain’s try three minutes into the second half, goaled by his namesake Chris.
Two minutes later, England stretched their advantage as burly prop Aston Croall barged over in the corner to make it 27-3, Scotland wondering what had hit them.England were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when replacement centre Sebastian Rodwell was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on.
On 75 minutes, England claimed a fifth try through James Love, with five minutes remaining, at which point Dorrington got brief game-time for his debut, making an impact with a scrambling try.
England Counties: Wilcox (Cinderford) Hurrell (Coventry) Mitchell (Darlington Mowden Park) Myring (Coventry) Brennand, C Johnson (Fylde) Bedford (Sandal) Croall (Blackheath) McNamee (Old Albanian) S Johnson (Hull Ionians) McGowan (Worthing Raiders) Hilton (Launceston) B Johnson (Launceston) Stewart (Fylde) Jones (Blaydon). Replacements: Wilkes (Cinderford), Kalbraier (Blaydon), Harrison (Clifton), Laughlin (Blaydon), Davies (Richmond),Dorrington (Fylde) Rodwell (London Irish Wild Geese), Love (Ealing Trailfinders).
Scotland Club: Thomson (Melrose), Gossman (Ayr), Steele (Heriot’s),Auld (Gala) McLeod (Hawick) Edwards (Heriot’s), Wilson (Heriot’s), Beavon (Melrose), Scott (Ayr),McQuillin (Melrose),Nimmo (Heriot’s), Moody (Boroughmuir), Hill (Heriot’s),Weston (Currie),Eccles (Melrose). Replacements:Anderson (Gala), Watt (Ayr), Muir (Hawick),Peacock (Currie),Graham (Gala) McNeish, Buchan (Heriot’s).