Jamaica fightback to draw with Scotland

Ashton Golding in action for Jamaica

Ashton Golding in action for Jamaica

Promising forward Charlie Emslie scored two tries on his senior debut to help Scotland come from 10-0 down and earn a share of the spoils with Jamaica from a 30-30 draw in an 11-try thriller at Featherstone.

The 20-year-old back rower, who was Barrow’s young player of the year in 2021, was given his opportunity after progressing through Scotland’s junior system and took his chance in style with a try in each half.

The Scots will be disappointed not to win after establishing a 30-10 lead but, on the day they were meant to be playing Italy in the World Cup in Newcastle, Nathan Graham’s men were simply grateful to be back in action after a two-year absence.

Jamaica coach Jermaine Coleman, whose side should have been playing Ireland at Headingley on Sunday, will be equally encouraged by his players’ efforts, especially after losing 56-4 to England Knights a week earlier.

With a starting line-up boasting seven current Super League players, Scotland went into the game as clear favourites but it was the Reggae Warriors who started and finished the better team.

Jamaica scored six tries to five but scrum-half Izaac Farrell could manage just three conversions whereas Lachlan Walmsley succeeded with all five of his attempts at goal.

Hooker Jymel Coleman opened the scoring, forcing his way over from dummy half for the game’s first try and full-back Ben Jones-Bishop went 90 metres for the first of his two tries after Scotland prop Sam Luckley lost the ball in a promising attacking position.

The Reggae Warriors were good for their 10-0 lead and could have been further ahead, with Ashton Golding and Farrell both held up over the line.

It took the Scots some time to settle into the game but, with Danny Addy and James Bell prompting, they soon began to cause problems for Jamaica and turned the game on its head with four tries in the last seven minutes of the first half.

Bell put Emslie over for his first try while Addy’s cut-out pass enabled winger Will Oakes to cross unopposed at the corner.

Second rower Ben Hellewell grabbed another try after Oakes dribbled the ball to the line and skipper Dale Ferguson went over on the stroke of half-time, Walmsley kicking his fourth conversion to make it 24-10.

It looked to be game over within a minute of the restart when Emslie went through a fragmented defence for his second try and Walmsley’s fifth goal put 20 points between the teams.

But Jamaica’s heads never dropped and Jones-Bishop took Farrell’s pass to score his second try and spark the fightback.

Centre Joe Brown added another and Jacob Ogden was held up over the line before substitute forward Jordan Andrade plunged over for a score that brought his side to within four points.

Scotland finished the game with 12 men after Ferguson was sin-binned for a high tackle and it proved crucial.

In a tense finale, prop Ross Peltier lost the ball going for the line before replacement winger Alex Brown dived over at the corner to bring the scores level.

Farrell had the chance to win it but his touchline conversion attempt fell narrowly short of the target and Scotland scrum-half Ryan Brierley was wide with a drop-goal attempt as the game finished deadlocked.