London Welsh Women vs Windsor, 14/01/17, Away
A hard fought win on the road for LWWRFC
After a brilliant session and great team run through on Wednesday, London Welsh Women were excited to hit the road to Windsor for their first game of 2018. The Dames had proven challenging opponents at the Home fixture, but given a strong first half of the season Welsh confidence was high.
London Welsh started well, building on the basics and showing strength in the set pieces, and it wasn’t long before the ball was passed through the hands to Amy Thomas who powered over the line making light work of the first 5 points .
Unfortunately the match quickly became incredibly ‘stop and start’ and the scrum in particular came under the ref’s scrutiny despite a typically competent performance from the Welsh pack. Undeterred by the lack of flow to the game the London Welsh ladies managed moments of brilliance and a great passage of play saw Alison Smith offload to Nat Smith who timed her pass perfectly to draw her opponent and put Jo Wells into the space she needed to storm up the pitch, swerving the winger and the fullback to take the ball over the line for another 5 points.
Despite a good early lead Welsh continued to struggle to find consistent form and there were handling errors abound. Windsor secured a turnover and capitalised on a disorganised defence, exploiting an overlap to score, banking 7 points in answer to Welsh’s 10.
The second half continued to prove frustrating for Welsh with regular pauses in play for injury, substitutions, a visit to the bin for Windsor’s 7 and even a change in referee limiting the opportunity to find their feet. However Welsh managed to keep their heads and a solid 20 minutes of intense and positive play saw two more opportunities for Welsh to get points on the board. The first came when Ruth Barton reacted brilliantly to a penalty, taking a quick ball and crashing into the Windsor defence who had little chance to make the necessary retreat behind the try line. Despite Ruth’s strength in driving towards the line, the ref decided she’d done enough and a penalty try was awarded.
Welsh continued to fight hard trying to maintain momentum despite a number of decisions going against them, and working hard to get back into scoring territory. Nat Smith had great vision to swing the direction of play after the Welsh pack had drawn the Windsor defence into a series of rucks, and she followed this up with great strength to burrow over the line for Welsh’s last try of the match, ably converted by Paula Cooper.
An unfortunate penalty in the corner gave Windsor a final chance to score, which they did in the dying minutes taking the final score to 12-24.
Despite the challenges with the game and performance, the London Welsh team pulled together and ensured they did enough to secure another win. Special mention should go to back of the match Elise Mensah, playing out of position at fullback and exhibiting brilliant cover tackles to close down Windsor line breaks, and to forward of the match Hannah Clarke, showing a great work rate in both defence and attack, leading by example throughout.
LWWRFC now look forward to welcoming Crowthorne to Old Deer Park in two weeks’ time.
1. Hannah Clarke (C, FOTM)
2. Louise Norris
3. Zoë Jeanes
4. Alice Gayner
5. Jenni McGivney
6. Gemma Swain
7. Paula Cooper
8. Nat Smith (VC)
9. Ruth Barton
10. Ali Smith
11. Kat Underhill
12. Katie McBride
13. Jo Wells
14. Amy Thomas
15. Elise Mensah (BOTM)
16. Iliana Damoutzidou
17. Isia Storey