London Welsh Women match report - Witney Angels, Away, 04/11/18
By Alice Gayner
Victory on the road for LWWRFC
It was a successful day for London Welsh Women today, who were on the road playing Witney away. It was an incredibly spirited performance from the opposition who were down on numbers, but Welsh took control from the start and after overcoming some initial handling errors, quickly found their stride. It didn’t take long for them to find themselves camped in the Witney 22. After developing a good pattern of forwards’ ball and backs’ lines, Welsh carried over for the first of many, with centre Jo Wells carving up the defence to score.
For the rest of the first half Welsh remained dominant - trucking the ball up the pitch via the forwards (with flanker Mitzi Pryce and second row Miranda Phillips proving fearless in their carrying), drawing in the Witney defence, before spinning out to the backs who covered the metres. The second try came from a great move off a penalty, with Zoë Jeanes crashing through the line before Paula Cooper deftly passed out to the backs who spun the ball out of contact to again put Wells into space, which she capitalised upon, carrying over for her second. This was quickly followed by another, completing Wells’s hat-trick, when Jeanes timed an offload beautifully and Wells skipped up the pitch from half way to score under the posts. Scrum half Cooper converted both to see the score hit 19-0.
The tries kept coming in the first half with Mitzi Pryce showing great strength to break a tackle and offload to Amy Thomas who drew the defence and popped to the waiting hands of Sara Sennitt who cut an excellent line to run in her first try for Welsh.
Another display of brilliant hands followed, with the forwards building a platform from the kick off, before Jo Wells cut inside, passing out to 8 Jeanes, who found the hands of fullback Bethan Williams who sliced through the defence, scoring to take the total to 29-0 just before half time.
The second half continued in the same vein with 1 to 15 for Welsh involved in some brilliant rugby, and a great display of teamwork. Witney continued to challenge Welsh with some crushing tackles and hard running, forcing Welsh to the fringes, which allowed winger, Emily Alland, to make a storming run up the wing, keeping her focus and a calm head to offload to Jo Wells, avoiding a try line tackle and setting Wells up for her fourth try. This was again converted by Cooper, who should also be credited for an excellent performance at scrum half, providing fantastic direction to control the game.
Next up was another display of LWWRFC’s impressive offload game with pass after pass landing in the awaiting hands of support runners, before hooker Louise Norris ran a perfect angle, receiving a well timed pass and carrying over for another 5 points and helping Welsh hit 41-0.
Welsh didn’t let up and again secured the kick off, with the safe hands of Ali Smith at 10 shepherding it up the pitch, dummying brilliantly to open up space, before offloading to flanker Eimear O’Rourke, another forward putting in fantastic carries during the game. O’Rourke found centre Amy Thomas who sprinted in another great try.
The next try was another example of backs and forwards collaboration and came just moments later when Jo Wells broke the line but was chased down by a committed Witney defence. The support was there though and Jeanes was on her shoulder and available to pick and go, running in a try from the 22, dodging tackles as she went.
At 51-0, Welsh were guilty of a few handling and discipline errors and Witney, showing great heart, were rightly quick to capitalise, scoring a well deserved converted try with 15 minutes left on the clock.
However after that brief wobble, Welsh regained focus and Lou Norris continued her great efforts at the line out, stealing the ball, which was quickly secured by the quick reaction of Phillips who popped to Cooper to distribute to the back line. The ball went safely through the hands finding Sara Sennitt on the wing who ran in her second of the game and the final points for Welsh.
All credit to London Welsh for a great team performance, and especially to Witney for fulfilling the fixture under challenging circumstances and playing brilliantly and in such a great spirit.
1. Hannah Clarke
2. Louise Norris
3. Alice Gayner
4. Jenni McGivney
5. Miranda Phillips
6. Mitzi Pryce (FOTM)
7. Eimear O’Rourke
8. Zoë Jeanes (C)
9. Paula Cooper
10. Ali Smith
11. Sara Sennitt (BOTM)
12. Jo Wells
13. Amy Thomas
14. Emily Alland
15. Bethan Williams