Victory at Cheshunt brings first half of season to a close
Welsh win away from the green, green grass of home to stay top of league.
The warmest of welcomes awaited the players and supporters that made the journey to Cheshunt for the match that would bring the first half of the season to a close. Cheshunt’s ground had been transformed since our last visit with the addition of a new clubhouse and an artificial grass pitch that ensured perfect conditions underfoot despite the pre-match rain.
London Welsh kicked off only for Cheshunt to immediately knock on and then concede the first penalty of the game. Jonathan Williams stepped up to kick at goal and opened the scoring with less than two minutes on the clock.
Cheshunt got play into the Welsh 22 but couldn’t claim points from their repeated attacks. Welsh cleared their line thanks to a penalty but Cheshunt soon returned and were awarded a penalty 30 metres out. A successful kick at goal levelled the score.
Welsh took control of the game from the restart. A lineout and drive over the try line saw Dan Ginger with ball in hand to claim the try. Jonathan Williams’ conversion bounced off the upright for the extra two points.
Both teams defended well and limited each other’s chances to score and the only further points of the half came again from the boot of Jonathan Williams to give the visitors a 13-3 lead at half time.
Williams added three more points within minutes of the restart to stretch the lead to 13 points but Welsh were still finding Cheshunt’s defence difficult to break through. Rhys Howells found space for a run down field and Cheshunt conceded another penalty inside their 22. Welsh took the kick to touch, the pack headed towards the line and then moved the ball out towards the middle of the pitch only to give away a penalty and bring the attack to an end. The next chance came soon enough. A solid scrum allowed the ball to be moved out across the Welsh line and when Cheshunt looked to have intercepted for a long run to the try line the referee called back play for an earlier penalty. The familiar 5 meter lineout and drive was effective this time and Andrew Black added the second try of the game with one hour played. The conversion went wide but the 21-3 margin now seemed enough to ensure the win.
The rain started falling heavily and made handling difficult and the stop-start nature of the game limited further opportunities to attack. In the closing minutes scrum half Iwan Bowan-Rees made a break from the ruck and sets up several phases of foward moves towards the line. Cheshunt conceded further penalties and the referee decided that the repeated infringements now warranted use of the yellow cards, Cheshunt’s fly half being the recipient and sitting out the remainder of the game. From the resulting penalty, and with space now created in midfield, Welsh were able to move the ball through the backs for team captain Christopher Lilly to cross for the third and final try.
The win keeps London Welsh at the top of the London 3 North West table, six points clear of Old Streetonians. Datchworth are a further point behind in third place.
Next Saturday the 1st XV travel to Kilburn Cosmos for the final game of 2018. Kick off 2pm.