1st XV win maintains seven point lead at top of league
By The Offical London Welsh
Two late tries secure bonus point against strong Harrow team
A strong wind blew the length of the Harrow pitch and London Welsh, playing into the wind for the first half, got the game underway. A good return kick to touch put Harrow back over half way where they won an early penalty and opted to go for goal only for the kick to drift wide. Harrow were soon awarded another penalty and again the kick was off target.
Welsh regrouped and made their way back deep into Harrow’s half with David Gabe finding touch from a penalty. A clean take at the lineout made the ball available to Andrew Black who made good ground and recycled to Marc Weir for the prop to score at the base of the post. Jonathan Williams’ conversion gives the visitors a 7-0 lead after 12 minutes.
London Welsh showed good handling to move play down field but Elis Staines was stopped just short of the line. Welsh remained in control and but the wind and Harrow’s defence prevent further scores.
Welsh had one further opportunity before half time with a penalty kick putting them back in Harrow’s 22. A good catch and drive came to and end though when the ball was knocked on. Harrow had failed to make the most of the wind advantage in the opening 40 minutes and the second half prospects were looking even tougher for them with the temporary loss of their prop with a yellow card moments before half time.
Half time: Harrow 0 London Welsh 7
Welsh sought the shelter of the dressing room at half time and emerged to start the second period with an attacking style of play. Less than five minutes into the half and Daniel Ginger looked to have scored but the referee adjudged that the ball was held up and Welsh had a 5m scrum instead. Andrew Black and Elis Staines both come close to scoring from the set piece but it was Marc Weir that was driven over for his second try of the game. Jonathan Williams added the conversion.
A penalty and then a free kick allowed Harrow to make it back into the Welsh half and good running lines tested the Welsh defence and forced a series of penalties ending with a yellow card for Andrew Black. Welsh conceded further penalties and, with a one man advantage in the pack, Harrow opted for a scrum. A good break from the scrum put their first points on the board but they were unable to convert. Midway through the second half and Welsh led 14-5.
Jonathan Williams stretched that lead with a penalty kick in front of the posts and although London Welsh appeared to have done enough for the win, the bonus point appeared out of reach.
The superior fitness of the London Welsh players started to show in the final ten minutes as they upped the pace again. The Welsh attack continued and a pass from David Gabe out to the wing gave team captain Christopher Lilly enough space to score in the corner. Another good conversion by Jonathan Williams increased the gap to 19 points and the hunt was on for the fourth try.
Rhodri Dawes’ long kick from the restart moved play back into Harrow’s half and had the advantage of the lineout when Harrow’s wing was unable to take the ball cleanly and it went into touch. An initial break by Elis Staines was taken on by the pack who drew in Harrow’s defence as they went through the phases. A short pass from Rhodri Dawes to Rhys Howells allowed the centre to find an angle through Harrow’s defence for the bonus point. Jonathan Williams completed the afternoon’s scoring with the conversion.
Full time: Harrow 5 London Welsh 31