England labour to 35-13 win over improved Scots
EDINBURGH: England beat Scotland for the 15th time in 16 games on Saturday but their 35-13 victory in an untidy Six Nations match was one of the world championsí least convincing performances in recent seasons. Tries by Ben Cohen and Iain Balshaw in a disjointed first half and by Josh Lewsey and Danny Grewcock in a similarly messy second secured the Calcutta Cup and kept England on course for back to back grand slams. But Scotland, showing a marked improvement from their poor display in losing 23-10 to Wales last week, battled gamely throughout and managed their first try against England in four years when Simon Danielli scored midway through the second period.
England went into the game as huge favourites but, after falling behind to an early penalty by Scotland skipper Chris Paterson, never really found their groove.
They hit back quickly, though, as Jason Robinsonís deft kick into space beat the Scots, the ball bouncing wickedly beyond fullback Ben Hinshelwood to give Cohen a simple try.
Paul Grayson added the conversion and minutes later the standoff was again successful with a penalty attempt to put England 10-3 ahead. Scotland responded positively and after Danielli dropped the ball with the line at his mercy, closed the gap with another Paterson penalty. Grayson landed another penalty and England then scored another scrappy try as Balshaw reacted sharply as the Scots appealed for a knock-on by Grewcock after the lock was disposessed in the build-up. England led 20-6 at the break without ever looking in control and they enjoyed another break early in the second when Lewsey charged down Patersonís clearance kick to score the third try.
Kind card: Then as though fate was worried about the imbalance of luck, Scotland were dealt a kind card as Danielli kicked ahead and this time the ball bounced unkindly for Balshaw, allowing the Scotland wing to gather and score.
Patersonís conversion reduced the England lead to 12 points but a penalty goal by Grayson after Taylor was yellow-carded widened the gap again. óReuters