Scotland Under-20s recorded a historic win in front of a big crowd at Broadwood on Friday evening, and outscored their English opponents four tries to nil in the process.
The young Scots scored twice either side of the break, with man of the match Blair Kinghorn and Murray McCallum going over in the first half.
Captain and up-and-coming Glasgow second-row Scott Cummings and back-row Matt Smith crossed after the break in an impressive Scotland performance.
All that came in spite of England opening the scoring, with stand-off Simmonds landing an early penalty, but the Scots scored the night’s first try and it was a beauty.
A wayward kick was gathered by Edinburgh full-back Kinghorn, and he sprinted up the touchline, exchanging passes with Rory Hutchison as they carved the visitors’ defence and scored out wide after 15 minutes.
He wasn’t able to convert, but the Scots held an early 5-3 lead and they threatened to extend that when Robbie Nairn broke clear down the right wing, but he was denied by a fine cover tackle inside the England 22.
Dalziel’s men pressed further when, despite a rapidly retreating scrum, scrum-half Hugh Fraser produced a majestic flick to put the Scots on the front foot, with Nairn and Galbraith cutting through, but once more the visitors’ scramble defence came to their rescue.
The visitors grew into the game as the half wore on, thanks largely to the power of their pack. They re-took the lead thanks to a second penalty from Simmonds just after the half-hour.
Another Hutchison break put Scotland on the front foot once more, though, and John Dalziel’s side showed their pack power as Cummings went close before prop Murray McCallum burrowed over.
Kinghorn converted to give the home side a 12-6 half-time lead.
Pass marks all round, particularly for the pack on attack, with Ritchie and Cummings to the fore and for their defence of England’s maul. Increased exposure in professional ranks seemed to have paid off for a lot of the players.
The backs looked lively in the opening 40 with Hutchison and Kinghorn the big threats in a hugely encouraging showing.
Despite being a man down the visitors pressed early, but Adam Hastings (son of Gavin) had the next scoring chance, as he chipped and gathered before hacking on once more… only for his final kick to go dead.
The next try came as more powerful work took skipper Cummings over after Ritchie had gone close and another Fraser wonder pass.
The lead grew on the hour when Matt Smith went over, breaking clear from a rolling maul. Kinghorn converted for 24-6 and with 20 minutes to go, the Broadwood crowd sensed a first under-20s win in the fixture for Dalziel’s side.
England pressed thereafter, but the hosts held on for a first ever win over their English opponents at under-20 level.
Head coach John Dalziel praised the efforts of the side post-match, and they will hope to build on their record-breaking performance when they travel to Wales next weekend.
SRBlog Man of the Match: Blair Kinghorn