England Knights put on a mature and measured performance to defeat Scotland 28-4 at Myreside in Edinburgh. The game served as Scotland’s final warm-up before the Rugby League World Cup kicks off next weekend, and there was encouragement they could take from their performance despite the defeat.
Scotland started strong with forward-thinking defence used to fence the Knights in. Matty English found himself powered back on England’s own 20 in the early going as the Scots looked to establish themselves.
When Scotland found their defence breached though it was with a moment of magic. Matty Nicholson and Ethan Havard made some important gains before a kick from Mikey Lewis set Jack Broadbent free. The recent Featherstone Rovers loanee went over to give the Knights the lead. Will Pryce could not quite pick out the conversion from wide on the left with the rain and wind playing a factor.
Matty Lewis was next over the line in England colours but Scotland defended his try attempt brilliantly. Dale Ferguson got underneath the Knights star to prevent him from widening the gap. Scotland would go on to have a solid period of pressure but they could not find a breakthrough on the scoreboard.
A short drop-out didn’t come off for the Scots and they conceded a penalty. A show and go from Josh Thewlis gave him the space to dart over the line and double England’s advantage. Once again the inclement weather harmed the conversion, a recurring theme of the day.
Thewlis would cross over again just moments later, with Danny Walker and Mikey Lewis combining brilliantly to find him hugging the touchline. Thewlis powered over to finish the slick passing move. Pryce made it 0 from 3 with his kick, but England still went in at the break 12-0 to the good.
The second half started the way the first finished, with Deon Cross creating an opening for Thewlis to bag his hat-trick. Lewis’ kick over the top created the chance and Cross cleared a path which Thewlis took masterfully. Once again the conversion did not come off, but England had a comfortable lead.
Not satisfied with three tries to his name on his second Knights appearance, Thewlis was celebrating again three minutes later. Pryce passed off to him on the right who found a gap on the left side of the Scotland defence. Olly Russell took on the conversion for the first time and had more success than Pryce had managed for a 22-0 advantage.
Scotland stemmed the tide when Bailey Haywood dinked a ball through the lines to Kane Linnett who got a well-deserved try. It went unconverted, missing a chance to get a real foothold in this game. But it was still a warning that the Knights might not have everything their own way.
Jez Litten closed out the scoring in the closing moments after a fine carry from Jordan Lane. Litten supported the play well before breaking through the Scotland defence to put a bow on a fine Knights display. Russell stuck away the conversion to end the game 28-4 to England. Scotland go on to play Italy in their Rugby League World Cup opener a week today.
Alex Walker, Matty Russell, Kieran Buchanan, Bayley Liu, Lachlan Walmsley, Bailey Heywood, Ryan Brierley, Kane Linnett, Euan Aitken, Liam Hood, Logan Bayliss, Dale Ferguson, James Bell. Subs: Lewis Clarke, Sam Luckley, Kyle Schneider, Guy Graham, Charlie Emslie, Jack Teanby, Callum Gahan, Davey Dixon, Shane Toal, Luke Bain
Will Pryce, Josh Thewlis, Deon Cross, Ellis Longstaff, Jack Broadbent, Mikey Lewis, Oliver Russell, Matty English, Jez Litten, Ethan Havard, Matt Whitley, Jordan Lane, Matt Nicholson. Subs: Danny Walker, Tyler Dupree, Harvie Hill, George Delaney
Tries: Broadbent, Thewlis (4), Litten
Goals: Price 2/5