London Welsh Women match report - Guernsey Ladies, Home, 14/10/18
By Alice Gayner
A comprehensive victory despite challenging conditions for the London Welsh Ladies
Sunday 14th saw the rain lashing down on Old Deer Park as London Welsh Women gathered for their first fixture against Guernsey Ladies, who joined the league this season. Despite the unknown entity, Welsh were hoping to provide Guernsey’s first real challenge of the season.
The match opened with Welsh’s form on par with some of the best moments of their display against Windsor. With Nat Smith collecting the kick off, scrum half McBride recycling quickly and the pack offloading out of every tackle the ball quickly found its way to the backs who cut incredible lines to play Elise Mensah through for the first 5 points of the season.
Despite conditions making handling tricky, Welsh kept the flowing play alive, fixing errors when they came but finding hands of support runners with impressive accuracy. Quick recycling from McBride and hard running from all, noticeably prop Hannah Clarke, forced errors from the opposition, securing Welsh a penalty within the Guernsey 22. A quick tap, go and pass from the scrum half found the awaiting hands of prop Zoë Jeanes who used her strength and speed to crash through, securing another 5 for Welsh, converted by Isia Storey playing fullback.
The offloading play was ongoing with Welsh continuing to dominate, and after 30 minutes play fullback Isia Storey (who consistently provided a safe pair of hands at the back) broke through, charging up the wing and handing off the waiting defence, scoring a further 5 for Welsh.
With Welsh firmly on top, their set moves ensured that any threat of a Guernsey attack was closed down - Louise Norris should particularly be commended for her sterling work in disrupting the opposition line out. Welsh were able to secure territory but despite losing possession in the Guernsey 22, Jo Wells secured the kick over the top, cutting an incredible line inside and spinning out of one tackle after another, eventually stepping the last man to score a fantastic try on the wing.
With Guernsey’s attack threatening and conditions worsening, Welsh struggled to control the ball, and with passes becoming scrappier, a few players found themselves exposed in the tackle, and the penalties for holding on ramped up. Guernsey capitalised and broke through, scoring a converted try on the cusp of half time.
The second half saw a great shift from Welsh - despite the efforts of the first half showing in their play at times they held strong and a turnover scrum in the Guernsey half was efficiently shipped out to Elise Mensah who carried over to secure a further 5 and a bonus point for LWWRFC.
The second half proved a good contest for both sides with moments of brilliance from Welsh coupled with phases of slightly chaotic play, one of which allowed Guernsey through again for their second of the game - a storming run from their flanker.
The final score was 27-12, and despite clocking up a few pointers to take into training on Wednesday, London Welsh Women were proud of a gutsy performance which sees them top of the table. A huge thank you as ever to all the supporters and especially to the London Welsh Supporters Club who turned out in force, despite the conditions.
1. Hannah Clarke (FOTM)
2. Louise Norris
3. Zoë Jeanes
4. Jenni McGivney
5. Alice Gayner
6. Paula Cooper
7. Mitzi Pryce
8. Nat Smith (C)
9. Katie McBride
10. Ali Smith
11. Sara Sennitt
12. Elise Mensah
13. Jo Wells (BOTM)
14. Camilla Campbell
15. Isia Storey
16. Karina Lo Dico
17. Federica Boni
18. Emily Alland