Four In A Row For Unbeaten 1st XV
By The Official London Welsh
The 1st XV encountered by far their toughest game of the season so far with the visit of Harrow to ODP. Both teams were evenly matched for the first 60 minutes and the victory only looked certain in the closing minutes.
Referee Rob Park was assisted on the touchline by Evan and Ben, two London Welsh U15 players who have attended an RFU Referees Course, and Lloyd Davies got the match underway in front of a large ODP crowd.
An early penalty kick by Rhys Tudur Davies went wide and, with little between the two teams in the opening stages, Welsh had to take advantage of Harrow infringements for their first score. A penalty for tackling a London Welsh player without the ball took the home team to the 5m line and when the ball was knocked on over the line play was brought back for penalty advantage. This time the ball made ended up in the hands of David Gabe to scored under the posts. Rhys Tudur Davies added the conversion for a 7-0 lead with 15 minutes played.
Harrow levelled the score on half hour. An attacking scrum for accidental offside on the London Welsh 22 meter line fed the ball out to centre Ryan Owens who chipped over the Welsh players to collect and score. The conversion was added by Alex Campbell.
David Gabe scored his second try just before half time when he ran an excellent line to find a gap in Harrow's defence and could have scored another straight from the restart but was caught just inside the 22. Rhys Tudur Davies' conversion gave London Welsh a 14-7 lead at half time.
The second half continued to be a close contest and Harrow took their chance after seven minutes. A loose ball was kicked ahead by Gordon Burnett and a further hack ahead by the centre allowed him to gather for the try. Alex Campbell's conversion levelled the scores again.
A yellow card for Harrow's left wing gave Welsh a one man advantage and created space for Rhys Tudur Davies to receive a long pass to score in the corner. The wing added the difficult conversion and a few minutes later slotted over a penalty to open up a two score lead for the first time in the game.
The Welsh pack were now showing their strength and fitness and the game stepped up in pace. A penalty against Harrow for a high tackle took Welsh to the 5m line but despite several phases of play they can't get the ball over the try line. A second yellow card for Harrow followed. Lloyd Davies' quick penalty put Andrew Black through for the bonus point try and with five minutes remaining Welsh now had a 29-14 lead.
Another David Gabe break forced Harrow to concede a penalty and from the line out and drive Elis Staines, now playing at scrum half, took the ball to add the fifth and final try completing the fourth bonus point from the opening four games and marking a 12 month unbeaten run in the league.
Full Time: London Welsh 34 Harrow 14
Penderyn Distillery Man of the Match: Morgan Browne
Next Saturday London Welsh 1st XV travel to Old Streetonians to face the only other team on maximum points in London 3 North West. Kick off is 3pm at Hackney Marshes Centre.