Match preview: London welcome Horsham to Old Deer Park in Round 16

The thirteenth games of the season didn’t bring bad luck for London Welsh or Horsham, our visitors this Saturday. Welsh finished 33-10 ahead at London Cornish thanks to an impressive second half performance after the first half rain proved a great leveller whilst Horsham won 36-12 against Battersea Ironsides.

The bonus point win for Welsh came via team captain James Buncle’s brace of tries, Adam Nixon and Tim Ross each scoring their second try of the season and Ed Couzens adding his name to the scorecard for the first time since joining London Welsh from Llanelli in the Welsh Premiership. Lloyd Davies added four conversions.

Horsham also claimed a bonus point in their first game of the year running in five tries and topping these up with four conversions and a penalty. This was their fourth win of the season and their second in a row as it followed a pre-Christmas victory over Farnham. The previous  successes had been in October against the bottom two teams in the league. A 7-24 scoreline at London Cornish was followed by 11-15 at London Irish and Horsham’s fortunes continued when the third match in the run gave a 32-32 draw at home to Cobham.

In previous seasons Horsham’s current tenth place would have had them looking nervously at the teams below and the threat of dropping into the relegation zone but that worry doesn’t exist this campaign. Twelve points cover 5th to 10th in the league and a mid-table finish remains within Horsham’s sights. 

Horsham gave London Welsh a tough test in the away leg of this fixture. Welsh led 12-6 at half time with tries by Peschisolido and Ridler plus a conversion by McAvoy sandwiched by two successful penalty kicks for Horsham. Butler’s first try of the season and another McAvoy conversion was enough to secure the win and although Welsh stopped the home team from scoring a try, Horsham’s four penalties were enough for a losing bonus point. The final score was 12-19 to London Welsh with Welsh prevented from attaining the Try bonus point.

Round 16 will be Horsham’s first ever visit at 1st XV level to the famous Old Deer Park.
Ireland U20s man (and Club Captain) Chris Lilly’s first appearance in a league fixture this season was one of several positives to be taken from the London Cornish game. The strength of the London Welsh pack was rightly highlighted by Cornish after the game and the list of try scorers more than reflected this. The second half performance saw an increased focus and determination from the team, no doubt spurred on by James Buncle’s very vocal half time rallying call and assisted by an improvement in the playing conditions.  

Peschisolido still leads the list of try scorers with eight so far this season and Hunt remains on six, Buncle’s brace against Cornish moves him to five tries and into joint third with flyimg 6’5 winger Sion Cowdy. A total of 69 tries have been scored this season with just 27 conceded. 
Kick off is at 2pm. Hot food will be available in the club house and the club bars (as always) will be open all afternoon and evening. Entry remains FREE, as has been the case since the start of Project Reset.

Welsh continue to welcome players back from injury with Round 16 seeing Sion Cowdy, Will Ponty, Matt Williams and Griff Whitson all return to the selection conundrum. Osian McAvoy and Jack Burnett also near a return. 50+ cap man a second row stalwart Tom Baldwin forces his way into contention after a man of the match performance as captain of the Druids 2nd XV last time out.


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