LWWRFC maintain unbeaten home run
A confident performance from London Welsh as they beat Reading 32-12
Sunday 18th saw perfect conditions at Old Deer Park for London Welsh Women’s second game of the season against Reading Ladies. With memories of an away defeat still raw, Welsh were fired up for the home fixture, and with a strong starting line up and solid bench there was real excitement for the game ahead.
Welsh started well and were quick to fix some initial handling errors, with their impressive offload game seeing them truck up the pitch, capitalising on incremental line breaks to cover significant ground.
This style of play was quick to pay off with captain Hannah Clarke reacting to a breakdown near the line, collecting the ball and stretching over the line for the first try, converted by Isia Storey for the full 7 points. Some great interplay between the pack and the back line saw Welsh maintain the pressure on Reading, with prop Zoë Jeanes and wing Elise Mensah linking up brilliantly throughout the half. The second try was a classic example of the handling skills the team have developed under coach Paul Braithwaite, with Jeanes ably carrying over for the second try after the ball had again travelled up the pitch and through the hands.
This great team performance continued with Welsh running the ball up the narrow channel following a breakdown, with Mensah and Jeanes again working together well, linking up with second row Alice Gayner who offloaded to scrum half Katie McBride, cutting a great line to score Welsh’s third of the game.
Having lost to Reading from a similar scoreline earlier in the season, Welsh knew they had to maintain their focus into the second half, and they managed to keep ploughing up the pitch, despite a great defensive effort from Reading who continued to pile the pressure on. Aided by a dominant scrum, and with the backs including fly half Ali Smith and centres Isia Storey and Jo Wells racking up the metres, Welsh quickly found themselves back on the Reading line, and it was with brilliant vision that McBride scored her second of the game, spotting a gap in the defence and launching herself over a ruck to take the score to 27-0.
Reading were not dispirited however and took their chances well. Despite a heroic cover tackle from flanker Nic Crowther to take down a Reading breakaway run, they were able to recycle well and ran the ball over, with the confident boot of their fly half taking them to 27-7.
Welsh responded well, managing to better secure the breakdown and also spotting opportunities to offload from the tackles to keep momentum going. Given current standing in the league, the potential bonus point was essential, so it was a relief when Zoë Jeanes secured the ball from fellow prop Hannah Clarke at the back of a maul, spinning out and charging over the line to score her second of the game, and to secure the extra point.
Welsh’s final try came from a great show of strength from the pack to drive a scrum over, with scrum half McBride, who controlled the game brilliantly throughout, reacting quickly to the ball coming loose at the back and scoring her third of the game. Despite Welsh’s best defensive efforts, Reading’s persistence was rewarded with a try in the dying minutes, taking the final score to 32-12.
In conclusion, a brilliant performance from London Welsh that has left them buoyed for the rest of the season.
A special mention must go to Jo Wells who leaves the team for pastures new, having made a huge impact on and off the pitch. Everyone at London Welsh wishes her well as she makes the move to New Zealand.
1. Hannah Clarke (C)
2. Helena Duggan
3. Zoë Jeanes
4. Alice Gayner (FOTM)
5. Gemma Swain
6. Nic Crowther (FOTM)
7. Ruth Barton
8. Nat Smith (VC)
9. Katie McBride (BOTM)
10. Ali Smith
11. Kat Underhill
12. Isia Storey
13. Jo Wells
14. Elise Mensah
15. Jane Crowther
16. Iliana Damoutzidou
17. Louise Norris
18. Karina Lodoco
19. Miriam Evans