Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
SCOTLAND 26 ENGLAND 28
Scotland suffered the frustration of another agonizingly narrow defeat to the Auld Enemy on Sunday when they were beaten by the Lionhearts at Hamilton. A brave second half comeback came to nought when the Bravehearts ran out of time when England were hanging on grimly.
England appeared to have the game wrapped up when they lead 28-10 with just 20 minutes left but a tactical reshuffle by Scotland resulted in two tries in four minutes by Newcastle's Andy Borthwick - moved from the forward pack to left centre - and another with just a minute of normal time left by Borders' Dan Gordon. Barry Earl's third conversion of the afternoon cut the lead to just two points but it was all to no avail.
England had started the game well, leading through Rob Brown's close range try before Doug Flockhart touched down for Scotland. Edgar's conversion attempt from far on the left hit the post, the difference in the end between defeat and a draw.
Karl Wesley put England further ahead before an improving Scotland leveled through Flockhart, finishing off fine work by the Kiwi Gordon, who impressed at loose forward. But the Lionhearts went in at half-time 16-10 ahead thanks to James Herzberg's try.
The game seemed over when England scored two tries in the first nine minutes after the break. A super solo run by tiny scrum-half Chris Storey was followed by Wesley's second of the game and Scotland looked dead and buried. However, they rallied superbly to put the Lionhearts under tremendous pressure, with stand-off Ian Gilmour's playmaking efforts finally coming off. He created the opening for the burly Borthwick but could not finish an exhausted England off. Borders centre Callum Anderson, 16, made history as the youngest ever Scotland open age international, breaking the record of Leigh Centurions' John Duffy.
SCOTLAND 1 Barry Edgar - Glasgow Bulls 2 Paul Clarke - Somerset Vikings 3 Douglas Flockhart - Borders 4 Callum Anderson - Scotland Under-19s 5 Mark Webster - Liverpool Buccaneers 6 Ian Gilmour - Scotland Students 7 David Anderson - Scotland Students 8 Ash Carroll ? - Liverpool Buccaneers 9 Al Stewart - London Skolars 10 Jon Fitt - Liverpool Buccaneers 11 Scott MacGillivray - Fife Lions 12 John Macdonald - Edinburgh Eagles 13 Dan Gordon - Scotland Students
Subs: 14 Andrew Borthwick - Newcastle Knights 15 Andy Gray - Glasgow Bulls 16 Mike Wallace - Edinburgh Eagles 17 Andy McPhail - Glasgow Bulls
Tries: Flockhart 2, Borthwick 2, Gordon. Goals: Edgar 3.
ENGLAND 1 Richard Whitehouse - Worcester Saints 2 Chris Trenham - Rotherham Giants 3 Karl Wesley - Leicester Phoenix 4 Rob Brown - Nottingham Outlaws 5 Brendan Lewis - Hull Phoenix 6 Lee Craig - Hull Phoenix 7 Chris Storey - Rotherham Giants 8 Scot Eccles - Bridlington Bulls 9 Craig Kay - Bolton-Le-Moors 10 John Dudley - Rotherham Giants 11 Kieran Lacey - Liverpool Buccaneers 12 Julian Barkworth - Hull Phoenix 13 Chris Keld - Bridlington Bulls Subs: 14 James Herzberg - Hull Phoenix 15 Tony Wright - Bristol Sonics 16 Brendan Cook - Ipswich Rhinos 17 Jon Wood - Gosport Vikings
Tries: Wesley 2, Brown, Herzberg, Storey. Goals: Brown 4.
Referee: Paul Stockman (Selby)