- Home-town heroes Stewart and Dorrington on scoresheet
- Lively Scottish side put to the sword
England Counties 37 Scotland Club XV 3
Fylde flanker Evan Stewart and replacement scrum half Jordan Dorrington enjoyed home comforts to help England Counties to an emphatic victory in their first ever international against Scotland Club XV at the Woodlands memorial Ground this evening.
Both marked their debuts for England Counties with tries to set up the win their home ground against a lively Scotland side who had beaten Ireland Club XV earlier in the month.
Stewart used to teach Dorrington at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, but they are now equals as team-mates with Fylde in National One.
Stewart, who hails from Northern Ireland, celebrated jubilantly after he crossed from close range for the second of England’s six tries after an attack from a five metres scrum.
Stewart’s try followed an opening one from Sandal scrum-half who sniped through the Scotland defence after the visitors had turned over possession under pressure from Coventry wing Will Hurrell.
After two one point defeats by France Federale XV and Ireland Club XV last season, the win will have put England Counties in good heart for their visit to Perigeux to face their French counterparts on 20 March.
England still had work to do at half time as Scotland pulled back a penalty from scrum half Graham Wilson but the match was settled inside the first five minutes of the second half.
Old Albanians flanker Billy Johnson, who was given the honour of captaining the Counties, powered over from close range for a try that his namesake Chris, also playing on his home ground, improved.
Quick thinking by Bedford, who took a quick tapped penalty, then created an overlap for loosehead prop Aston Croall who galloped over in the corner for an unconverted try.
The Counties lost some momentum while replacement centre Sebastian Rodwell was in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on but they stepped up the intensity again once they were back to full strength.
James Love of Ealing Trailfinders crossed after another quickly-taken tapped penalty and Dorrington was engulfed by joyous team-mates after he wriggled over shortly after he had replaced Bedford.
England Counties: 15 Mike Wilcox (Cinderford); 14 Will Hurrell (Coventry), 13 Cameron Mitchell (Darlington Mowden Park), 12 Luke Myring (Coventry), 11 Oliver Brennand (Fylde); 10 Chris Johnson (Fylde), 9 Joe Bedford (Sandal); 1 Aston Croall (Blackheath), 2 Brett McNamee (Old Albanians), 3 Steve Johnson (Hull Ionians), 4 Charlie McGowan (Worthing Raiders), 5 Ben Hilton (Launceston), 6 Billy Johnson (Old Albanians – captain), 7 Evan Stewart (Fylde), 8 Gavin Jones (Blaydon).
Replacements: Sam Wilkes (Cinderford) for McNamee 54, Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon) for Croall 59, Tom Harrison (Clifton) for S Johnson 76, Keith Laughlin (Blaydon) for Hilton 60, Chris Davies (Richmond) for Stewart 68, Jordan Dorrington (Fylde) for Bedford 76, Sebastian Rodwell (London Irish Wild Geese) for Myring 39, James Love (Ealing Trailfinders) for C Johnson 60.
Scotland Club XV. 15 Fraser Thomson; 14 Craig Gossman, Liam Steele, Chris Auld, Scott McLeod; Stuart Edwards, Graham Wilson; Nick Beavon, Fergus Scott, Ewan McQuillin, Russell Nimmo, Iain Moody, Jason Hill, Peter Eccles, Ross Weston (captain).
Replacements: Russell Anderson, Fraser Watt, Shawn Muir, Malcolm Peacock, George Graham, Gregor McNeish, Keith Buchan.
Referee: Mr Robert Price (Wales)