London Welsh vs Harlequins
By Gareth Vaughan Jones
Harlequins humbled in Halloween Humdinger
Harlequins made the short journey up the A316 to play a London Welsh u15 squad looking to make it a triple crown of South West London scalps having conquered both London Scottish and Richmond in their previous outings.
Old Deer Park was looking at its resplendent best as the morning’s rain gave way to autumnal sunshine.
Rhiannon Mannes did a quick count of the attendance and reported a tally of 44. Gareth Vaughan Jones who has far more experience of such matters corrected the figure to a more pleasing 207.
Annie Paskin was stationed on the touchline to ensure there was no possibility of a repeat of some unnecessary “assistance” provided to the match official when these sides last met.
With a slight breeze at their backs Welsh kicked off. Quins had all the early possession but were making little headway against some strong and disciplined Welsh defence, finally forcing a knock on.
With less than 5 minutes gone, Welsh moved possession one way then the next allowing George to score. Before long Quins knocked on again in front of their own posts and from the resulting scrum Glyn doubled the lead. Things were looking ominous for Quins when following a poor exit kick Glyn was able to double his personal try tally dotting down between the posts. Jack added the extras to give Welsh a commanding 17-0 lead.
Quins were soon well and truly in the contest when a missed tackle in midfield allowed a strong runner through and between the uprights with the extras a formality. With the bit between their teeth, Quins piled on the pressure and looked to have scored but the Welsh defence stayed strong and held the ball up in in-goal. The resistance was short-lived however, as the Quins narrowed the lead to 17-12 just before the referee sounded his half time blast.
As they did in the first half, Welsh went on the attack from the restart and some lovely hands released Hugh who broke a tackle from inside his own half with Jack earning the applause for adding a tricky conversion.
The two Bens so nearly combined right on the try line but Quins only half cleared their lines and within an instant Edward was bobbing and weaving his way towards the 5m line. The ball was recycled quickly and George was on hand to dart through. 29 -12.
Once again Quins showed admirable heart and were back in contention once a misplaced Welsh pass was gratefully received by a speedy Quin. At 29-17 it was clear that the next try would be crucial.
Luke bravely made a try saving tackle to keep the Quins at bay and was forced off for his pains. Welsh earned a free kick with Quins too eager at scrum time and with some quick hands Welsh pushed it wide to George who drove hard for the line from the Quins 22 to secure his personal hat-trick.
Following a familiar pattern, Quins made the most of a penalty and the game was still very much alive as we headed into the final 10 minutes with the Welsh leading 34-22.
Bruno was on hand to prevent a Quins score and James then took a nasty knock to the head having stolen the ball and driven hard to offer some relief from the late Quins onslaught. But it was his brother who completed the scoring after a neat dummy. With the extras added the scoreline had a comfortable 41-22 look as the Wizard with the whistle blew for time.