Seven Try Victory Keeps 1st XV Top Of League
Welsh dominant against determined Verulamians.
A full house for the pre-match lunch boosted the crowd that had gathered to watch the last home game before Christmas. Referee Rob Park, with Ben Wharton and Evan Jones assisting from the touchlines, got the game underway and from Verulamians kick off Welsh applied early pressure forcing an early penalty as the visitors were caught offside. Jonathan Williams kicked for goal scoring the first three points of the game.
When Verulamians were penalised again for for offside London Welsh opted for the kick to touch to move deep into the opposition half. Fly half David Gabe hacked ahead the loose ball which rebounded off a Verulamians player to be re-gathered and moved down the Welsh line for Rhys Howells to score the opening try of the match. Jonathan Williams’ conversion gave a 10-0 lead with just eight minutes on the clock.
The next score was almost 20 minutes later. Welsh had continued to restrict Verulamians to their own half and had missed chances to extend the lead when a penalty went wide and knock ons ended two clear try scoring opportunities. Welsh were awarded another penalty and from the resulting lineout the forwards started an unstoppable drive towards the line. Ben Cullen crossed the line to add the second try and Jonathan Williams added the extra two points to take the score to 17-0.
Half an hour was on the clock before the visitors spent any time in the Welsh half but they were unable to turn territory in to points. A long kick to touch moved the play back to the other half of the pitch and London Welsh were able to attack again.
Williams created the next try with a run that took him in to Verulamians 22. The full back made the ball available from the tackle and Zac Strider picked up to run in under the posts. The bonus point try was scored only a couple of minutes later. A short pass from David Gabe gave the ball to Fred White who outpaced the defence to score. Both tries were converted by Jonathan Williams.
The fifth and final try of the half was scored by Head Coach Cai Griffiths. Verulamians were penalised just outside their 22 and from the kick to touch the pack powered over the line for a 36-0 half time lead.
London Welsh opened the second half scoring with Fred White’s second try of the game. Verulamians conceded a penalty on their 5m line and Welsh decided to take the scrum. A quick ball down the line put White in space to score in the corner to increase the lead to 41 points.
Verulamians high penalty count eventually led to a yellow card for their number 8 and Welsh were able to make the most of his absence for their seventh try. A penalty five meters out was kicked to touch and when the ball was held up over the line play restarted with a 5m scrum. Replacement scrum half Tomas Gallo picked up from the back of the scrum to run through for his debut try. The conversion went wide.
Verulamians returned to full strength and with ten minutes remaining scored their only points of the game. They took play into the Welsh 22 and, although close to the line, were unable to get the try from that phase of play. An attacking 5m scrum set up a drive to the line for Samuel James to score.
Full time: London Welsh 46 Verulamians 5
Penderyn Distillery Man of the Match: Sam Canning-Birtles