London Welsh Women match report - Havant, Away, 09/12/18
By Alice Gayner
Disappointment on the road for London Welsh Women
After a close home fixture back in September, London Welsh Women knew they were facing a challenge on the road to Hampshire. Havant were a well drilled and highly physical team who really took charge of the opening minutes, testing Welsh’s defence and eventually scoring first, converting to take a 7 point advantage. London Welsh had to up their game to ensure they remained in contention and the rest of the first half was a fiercely contested battle, with possession and territory passing back and forth throughout, and an impressive display around the breakdown from both teams.
Welsh’s set piece helped to gain them vital territory, and a scrum in Havant’s 22m saw number 8 Zoë Jeanes pick and go, crashing over but unfortunately being held up. Welsh were able to control the resulting scrum, with Jeanes picking again and passing out to scrum half Paula Cooper who scored Welsh’s first of the game.
Moments later, play was up the other end, and despite Welsh possession Havant pressure in the LWWRFC 22 saw a turnover and score from the Home team.
Minutes later and again Welsh were fighting back, building a platform with strong carrying and efficient rucks and with moments of the backs running riot and crashing up the pitch, with fullback Jo Wells leading the charge. Finding themselves in a great position, a beautiful play from a penalty saw Cooper pass out to Jeanes who found centre Amy Thomas, who cut inside the defence carrying over for another try for Welsh, taking the score to 12-10 to the Home team at half time.
The second half was just as fiercely contested, and with both teams penalised with cards for high tackles, there were opportunities to take advantage of overlaps. Havant scored first, before Welsh again mounted a counter attack, which ended with a breakdown right on the line, from which Cooper was finally able to dig out the ball, spotting the space to reach through and ground the ball at the posts. Cooper converted too, taking the score level (at 17-17) for the first time in the game.
The final 20 saw some fantastic rugby from both sides with some incredible last ditch tackles, noticeably from centre Thomas, protecting the draw. Unfortunately though with the injuries totting up for the visitors and a single sub already on the pitch, Welsh had to play on with 14. Havant were able to exploit the space and scored once more to take the lead and seal the victory.
A disappointing end to the pre Christmas fixtures but a great battle and a good test for Welsh after a couple of comfortable victories.
1. Alice Gayner
2. Louise Norris
3. Hannah Clarke
4. Gemma Swain
5. Jenni McGivney
6. Eimear O’Rourke
7. Mitzi Pryce (FOTM)
8. Zoë Jeanes
9. Paula Cooper (BOTM)
10. Ali Smith
11. Sara Sennitt
12. Nat Smith (C)
13. Amy Thomas
14. Emily Alland
15. Jo Wells (BOTM)
16. Keshal Patel