Scotland’s top club players roared to a mighty nine-try 57-27 thumping of England Counties last night, with Boroughmuir wing Jordan Edmonds’ quickfire double at the start of the second half setting up a spirit-lifting rout.
Against a team they had been hammered 37-3 by in Fylde 12 months ago, this was a highly satisfying night for coach Phil Smith, whose team will now look to defend the Dalriada Cup against their Irish counterparts in Cork next month.
The Scots, whose pace and tempo simply blew the English away, got off to a dream start when a knock-on straight from the kick-off saw them win a scrum and a routine No 8 pick-up from the back and run-in unopposed saw the Counties were caught cold by Ayr’s Peter McCallum.
Hawick stand-off Lee Armstrong struck the post with his conversion attempt and the response from the visitors was swift. The English forwards wreaked havoc with their first concerted series of possession and Richmond’s Christopher Davies ploughed over to make it a try apiece to the two No 8s.
But the Scots hit back in the 17th minute as an intelligent switch down the blindside saw Glasgow Hawks scrum-half Paddy Boyer scamper in on the left.
Armstrong missed with the conversion and two penalties from Johnson dragged England back 13-10 in front before the first half was set alight by a brilliant score from the home team.
A sharp Scottish attack was finished off superbly by an electric turn of pace from Melrose full-back Fraser Thomson and this time Armstrong slotted the extras for a 17-13 half-time lead.
Within minutes of the restart the Scots inflicted a fatal double blow which left the visitors shellshocked and beaten. Continuing with the admirable attacking gusto they had shown in the first half, Thomson made the break down the left slipping a deft pass inside for Edmonds to finish and the Boroughmuir wing doubled his tally in quick time moments later as the Scottish backs cut loose.
Armstrong converted both and, when Ayr centre and skipper Ross Curle gobbled up an intercept try minutes later, it was game over.
The rampant Scots rammed home their advantage with excellent scores by Jack Turley and subs Cameron Ferguson and Michael Liness.
The English restored some pride with a late penalty try and consolation score by Spencer Sutherland.
scotland club xv: Tries: McCallum, Boyer, Thomson, Edmonds (2), Curle, Turley, Ferguson, Liness; Cons: Armstrong (6).
england counties: Tries: Davies, penalty try, Sutherland; Cons: Johnson (3); Pens: Johnson (2).
scotland club xv: F Thomson; S Pecquer, R Curle, B McGroarty, J Edmonds; L Armstrong, P Boyer; G Hunter, R Graham, N Beavon, J Turley, R McAlpine, J Hill, W Bordill, P McCallum. Subs: M Liness, S Cessford, J Bhatti, R Nimmo, N Irvine-Hess, G Graham, C Ferguson, H Elms.
england counties: M Wilcox; J Stokes, S Rodwell, C May, L Fielding; C Johnson, S Stuart; A Brown, M Miles, C Judge, R Conquest, I Kench, K Laughlin, B Daynes, C Davies. Subs: T Cowan-Dickie, O Mines, T Davison, T Stradwick, H Broadbent, J Welsh, S Sutherland, M Burcham.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales).
l Scotland made it two wins from three in the Six Nations under-20 championship after achieving a 24-14 victory over Italy last night at the Plebiscito Stadium in Padova, despite playing 60 minutes of the match with 14 men.
Scotland led 17-7 at the break from tries by wing Darcy Graham and prop Murray McCallum both converted by Hutchinson who also kicked a penalty goal. A penalty try awarded to Italy after repeated scrums on the Scotland line brought the home side back into the game but the Scots, despite two sin-binnings, finished strongly to score through replacement wing Robbie Nairn with scrum-half Hugh Fraser adding the conversion.