London Welsh take Royston's home record
Much changed side dog out a win
London Welsh made the most of the depth of talent in its 1st XV squad to be the first team to defeat Royston at home in the league this season. A large crowd gathered on the bank by the side of the pitch as the top two teams battled it out, both sides determined to put down a marker for when they'll meet again next season in London 3 North West.
The visitors took the lead inside the first ten minutes. Lloyd Davies' penalty kick to touch led to a forwards drive to the line but the ball was adjudged to have been held up. From the resulting scrum Dylan Pugh and Lloyd Davies linked up and a well timed pass from the fly half released Rhys Howells to run through the Royston defence for the first try of the afternoon. Lloyd Davies added the conversion.
Royston countered quickly, putting the Welsh defence under pressure. A passage of good play created space for their second row to score under the posts and the subsequent conversion levelled the score. Royston added the next try too. London Welsh had worked their way back down the pitch only to concede a scrum on Royston's 22m line. An excellent kick from their fly half moved play to the other end of the field and Royston made the most of the opportunity to score another try and conversion on the half hour mark.
A penalty kick on the stroke of half time gave the home team a 10 point lead but they had failed to make the most of the wind and slope advantage in the opening 40 minutes.
Half time: Royston 17 London Welsh 7
Despite plenty of attacking play neither team could add to their score in the first 15 minutes of the second half but Welsh had weathered the storm and the fitness of their forwards was beginning to show. A line-out from a penalty kick to touch allowed the pack to create the drive and Tom Baldwin to score. Lloyd Davies' conversion took his team within three points with 25 minutes to go. The spirit and organisation that has taken them to the top of the league this season came to the fore and, having sustained 40 minutes of pressure from Royston, the London Welsh team took control of the game.
Royston's forwards faced more difficulties with the loss of their opening try scorer due to a yellow card. A loose kick to touch had been gathered by Jonathan Shankland and when the second row brought down the diminutive winger with a high tackle the referee had no option but to reach for the card. The next scrum, on the 5 metre line, saw Royston's pack unable to cope with the power from the Welsh forwards and a penalty try was awarded.
The bonus point try was scored with ten minutes remaining. A penalty kick to the 5m line gave Welsh an attacking line-out. The forwards gathered the ball and the release to Dylan Pugh allowed a scoring pass to team captain Lloyd Davies. The touchline conversion bounced off the upright but London Welsh now had a more comfortable 26-17 lead.
The final score fell to Dylan Pugh when excellent play from Lloyd Davies moved the ball wide for the scrum half to touchdown in the corner.
Full time: Royston 17 London Welsh 31
Thank you for all the supporter that made the journey - it was incredible seeing so many of you there in the rolling hills! We are already looking forward to our return visit next season.
Next Saturday is the last 1st game of the season when we welcome Watford to ODP. Kick off is at 3pm. Our thanks to all our amazing supporters who have stuck with the club during this difficult time.