1st XV Win With Bonus Point To Top The League
A penalty try in the final minute secures the bonus point against a resilient Royston team.
A bright afternoon, a full house for the pre-match lunch and musical entertainment from Cor Y Boro helped draw in the biggest crowd of the season to see the 1st XV extend their unbeaten league run to 24 games.
London Welsh kicked off deep into Royston's half and regained possession from a lineout on the 22. The first of the early chances came to nothing as a knock on allowed Royston to clear their line and move play back up the pitch. A strong Welsh scrum created the second opportunity and from the set piece the ball was played back to Rhys Howells who took play upfield and passed to Max Morgan. The wing ran out of space and was pushed into touch. The best opportunity in the fist quarter also came to nothing. Iwan Bowan Rees took a quick free kick to get into Royston's 22 and freeing Tim Ross to cross the try line only for the referee to call play back for a a forward pass. With 20 minutes on the clock Welsh had had the majority of territory and possession but the score remained at 0-0.
Fears of a repeat of the the Old Streetonians scoreline were quashed a few minutes later. A catch by Gareth Morgan allowed play to move infield, Rhys Howells received the ball and stepped inside the final defender to score under the posts. Rhys Tudur Davies added the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Tudur Davies had the opportunity to add a further three points just before the half hour mark but the ball drifted just wide of the posts.
Quick thinking by Iwan Bowen Rees created the second try of the game. Royston were penalised for a high tackle and a quick tap by the scrum half allowed Tim Ross to cross the line. Unable to add the extra two points, Welsh had extended their lead to 12 points.
Royston's full back added their first points of the game and, with each team then missing a further kick at goal, the half time score was 12-3.
The visitors had the chance to close the gap early in the second half but once again the penalty kick at goal was off target and it would be a further 20 minutes until the first score of the half. Christopher Lilly on the right wing took a clearance kick and sent it through the back three for fellow wing Max Morgan to finish in the corner. The conversion bounced off the upright to drop short. The 17-3 lead made the win all but certain and one more try was needed to claim all five league points.
Welsh upped the pace and pressure and when awarded a penalty in Royston's half Tom May, the club's Backs Coach who was making his first appearance of the season, stepped up to kick for touch. The line-out was taken cleanly and the home side made progress towards the try line only for Andy Black to be pushed into touch just short. Penalty advantage was being played and another kick to touch gave an attacking lineout and a drive towards the line. Royston's pack defended well and were rewarded with a scrum when Welsh failed to use the ball quickly enough.
It was now the final few minutes of the game and, just when the bonus point try was seeming out of reach, Welsh regained possession. Royston were penalised for offside when going for an interception and Head Coach and stand-in team captain Cai Griffiths opted for one more scrum. Royston were unable to defend without giving away further penalties and left the referee no option but to award a penalty try. With that came the final whistle and the bonus point win. Our thanks to Ben and Evan for once again running touch as Assistant Referees.
Full time: London Welsh 24 Royston 3
Penderyn Distillery Man of the Match: Gareth Morgan
Datchworth's 28-17 over Old Streetonians puts London Welsh five points clear at the top of London 3 North West. Next Saturday the 1st XV travel to Stevenage Town.