Kirkup, Harris 2, Genocchio
Ball, Weir, Ainley, Alred 2, Spence 2
UNDER-19 REPRESENTATIVE MATCH
Scotland's juniors mirrored their senior team on Friday night by following an uncharacteristically weak first half performance with an impressive second half comeback that left both parties satisfied at Peffermill this afternoon. Trailing 32-6 a minute into the second period, Mark Senter’s team scored three tries to finish the stronger side, restoring pride in the same manner as the first team did against France at Gala after a dire opening that suggested the visitors would romp to victory.
Both teams fielded several of the players who met in the Commonwealth Championships in June but English Lions Youth looked stronger than the side beaten by Scotland in North Lanarkshire. They raced into a 20-0 lead within the opening half hour with tries by exciting fullback Darrion Ball of Wigan St Jude's, Kells standoff Dom Weir following a good spell of Scottish pressure, Kells prop Ross Ainley, and Leigh East centre Billy Alred with a gift from Ball. Weir two conversions from four attempts.
Scotland made a breakthrough on 34 minutes when prop Joe Kirkup followed his hatrick in Dublin last Saturday with another try from close range. But the Lions got a fifth try on the stroke of halftime when Wigan St Pats winger Tyler Spence finished a fine passing move on the left, Weir converting superbly off the post from the touch line. After Alred added his second straight after halftime, the young Bravehearts needed to improve their line speed, aggression and positivity to stop the rot, and did all three, pulling a try back through Richard Harris from Jack Stewart's kick. Harris, who started this season with London Broncos, returned to his amateur club Medway Dragons and moves to Warrington Wolves next week, was playing through a sickness bug that made him ineffective in the first half but he summoned the strength to be a powerful presence on the right wing in the second.
Also impressive for Scotland were second rower Shane Toal, Edinburgh Eagles halfback Lewis Clarke, and debutant Findlay Hutchison, who combined with his former Heriots School teammate Finn Murphy on the left flank, centre Hutchison excellent in defence.
Spence got his second try on the hour to make it 36-10 but Scotland finished strongly, Aberdeen Warriors winger Damien Genocchio diving over in the corner after a thrilling team move featuring Stewart and Harris. Two minutes from time, Harris got another, touching down Stewart’s grubber to reduce the deficit to 18 points. That would have been a disastrous margin for Scotland's seniors to lose by last night but was a reflection of the game here as both sides finished with pride intact in a game calmly refereed by Gavin Houston of the North East.
Alex Jobson, Damien Genocchio, Richard Harris, Finlay Hutchison, Finn Murphy, Fraser McTaggart, Lewis Clarke, Sam Luckley, Jack Stewart, Joe Kirkup, Carwyn Walker, Shane Toal, Angus Grindley. Subs: Iain Allen, Kieran Wyber, Cameron Robertson
ENGLAND LIONS YOUTH
Darrion Ball, Tyler Spence, Ryan Langton, Billy Alred, Harry Gagen, Dom Weir, Joe Prior, Adam Wilkes, Gregory Howland, Ross Ainley, Daniel Fryer, George Lawler, Connor Radcliffe. Subs: Jed Carter, Jack Marden, Jordan Siddens, Josh Leiper, Ben Toothill