FOR 60 minutes, Scotland went toe-to-toe with their bigger opponents but ran out of steam in the final 20. Compared to some of the heavy defeats suffered in this fixture in the past, there is no shame in this final score-line, and Kenny Murray’s side will travel to Colwyn Bay next Saturday feeling bullish about their prospects of getting a result against Wales.
The hosts soaked up an early period of pressure then snatched a 13th minute lead when full-back Robin McClintock fired an excellent low kick into the corner and England’s backfield was swamped into conceding a penalty, from which No 8 Ollie Leatherbarrow powered over.
A monster drop-goal attempt from McClintock rebounded off the right post and England then squared it when full-back Henry Arundell showed phenomenal pace to sweep past a succession of tacklers for a length of the park try.
Leatherbarrow thought he had claimed his second try, but referee Benoit Rousselet ruled that he had lost the ball on the way to touching down. The No 8 wasn’t to be denied, however, and he burst from the back of the resultant scrum and bull-dozed over. Christian Townsend fired home the conversion for good measure.
England bounced back before the break with a try through No 8 and captain Toby Knight off the back of a powerful line-out drive.
Scotland started the second half brightly with Ross McKnight latching onto a dropped English pass inside his own 22 and making 80-yards up the right touchline. He was eventually brought down by Arundell, but possession was retained the hosts got their reward when Melville found a way over the line on the opposite side of the park.
England kept themselves in touch with a Jamie Benson penalty, then snatched the lead when Arundell’s pace again proved too much for the Scots to handle with the London Irish youngster launching an attack from his own 22 which was finished off by scrum-half Tom Carr-Smith.
With Scotland’s replacement second-row Olujare Oguntibeju in the sin-bin, England extended their advantage with a second try for Knight and a first of the night for Ethan Grayson.
A late try Tom Litchfield finished the scoring for England, but Scotland had the last word with replacement hooker Gregor Huddleston touching down in overtime.