London Welsh Women match report - Rosslyn Park, Home, 03/03/2019
By Alice Gayner
Unbeaten home run maintained by London Welsh Women
A wet and windy afternoon at ODP saw Welsh taking on local rivals Rosslyn Park in the penultimate game of the season. Welsh had a strong squad (despite missing a number of key players) and a solid bench, including a couple of players making their rugby debut.
Welsh started well moving the ball around and gaining ground. They quickly fell foul of the bad weather though and with handling proving difficult they struggled to convert a good position into points.
In fact despite a confident start from the home side, it was Park who capitalised on their opportunities first, with good handling on the wing proving difficult to defend and an early score putting 5 points on the board for the visitors.
Fortunately, as with a few games this season, the first try against them was a good wake up call for the London Welsh Women who reacted well, upping their concentration and working to fix handling errors to build a good platform. With a solid scrum and powerful lines run from forwards and backs alike, Welsh soon found themselves back in the Park 22, and with scrum half Eloise Newton distributing brilliantly, flanker Zoë Jeanes was able to draw the defence and pass to centre Isia Storey who played outside centre Elise Mensah into space, allowing her to crash over for the first home team try.
Welsh continued to dominate possession but a solid Park defence and fierce headwind both contributed to Welsh struggling to add points to the board. The team persevered though, and captain Zoë Jeanes was able to add another five, reacting quickly to a loose ball at the back of a Welsh ruck to pick and go round the side, crashing through the Park defence to score.
With the second half kicking off, the weather continued to do its worst, but with the wind now behind them Welsh at least had that advantage. The play continued to be hard fought with both teams stitching together some great phases. It was Welsh though who remained on top, and again found themselves contesting in the Park 22. After hustling up the pitch with some storming runs from powerhouse Becks Salmon, Welsh secured a ruck and flanker Zoë Jeanes picked and popped to Storey who again passed to Mensah, showing great strength to avoid being held up by the Park fullback and scoring her second.
Despite the conditions, Welsh’s line out continued to impress, with Lou Norris stealing Park line outs throughout. With about 20 minutes on the clock, a full Welsh line out was secured by Norris, with the forwards coming together to slowly but surely drive the resulting maul towards the line. After a great effort it was Paula Cooper, today at flanker, who calmly and expertly touched down to add another 5 to the tally. Wing, Fred Boni, kicked from near the touch line for another 2, taking the score to 22-5.
It was Paula Cooper again who secured the bonus point for Welsh. With Jeanes having crashed the ball up the pitch, Cooper was quick to react, picking from the back and exploiting a gap in the Park line to touch down for another 5.
Park did manage a last effort, capitalising on a moment of confusion at a penalty to quickly exploit a gap, with the fullback running in a converted try to take the final score to 27-12.
Not an easy game by any means but another solid performance from LWWRFC in difficult conditions, ending in a comprehensive win. A big congratulations to Lauren Pollard and Georgia Marsh making their debuts too. The next game is on 17th March, at ODP, where Welsh hope to put a halt to top place Portsmouth’s unbeaten campaign - please do come down to enjoy the final game of the season.
1. Alice Gayner
2. Louise Norris
3. Becks Salmon
4. Jenni McGivney
5. Gemma Swain
6. Eimear O’Rourke
7. Paula Cooper (FOTM)
8. Zoë Jeanes (C)
9. Eloise Newton (BOTM)
10. Ali Smith
11. Federica Boni
12. Isia Storey
13. Elise Mensah (BOTM)
14. Emily Alland
15. Beth Williams
16. Lauren Pollard
17. Georgia Marsh
18. Karina Lo Dico
19. Kat Underhill
20. Rhiannon Owen