It was another frustrating weekend for the Exiles on the road in Round 19! Welsh visited old rivals from the 2021/22 season Camberley RFC last weekend and looking to set a few records straight from the Round 9 match in which Welsh suffered a 28-58 defeat at Old Deer Park, having been ahead 21 – 7 ahead heading into the second half.
Welsh were forced into a number of changes for the trip, with Tomos Ireland-Life and Finn Collins both gaining their debut call to the 1st XV. Welsh were also without established performers Ed Couzens and Rohan Pixley; Ewan Gully and Rhys Howells remaining side-lined in the backline. Hywel Williams was also a late withdrawal as he sustained an injury in training on Thursday evening.
With all of the hype, Welsh could not have started the match in any worse a fashion! Camberley kicking to Welsh regathered their kick off and went wide to dot down after only 2 minutes! The extras were added and Welsh were walking back to reset having not touched the ball.
The game was an even affair for the following 24 minutes as Welsh looked to make up for the slow start. It was Camberley that continued the scoring though when Ally Walton scored a fine solo effort chipping and chasing his own boot to dot down, with Prescott adding the conversion for Cambo to lead 14-0.
The game looked to be all but over, and the Exiles slightly shell shocked, when the heavy Cambo pack (to which Welsh have become accustomed over the last 2 seasons) piled over from a lineout in the Welsh 22 to male the score 21-0 to t home side on 30 minutes. However, the third try rocked Welsh into action and they tore into Cambo for the remainder of the 1st half applying some excellent pressure and dominant play to cross from a lineout in close quarters that then went wide on 37 minutes ( Dafydd Manley dotting down and McAvoy converting), and then again on 39 minutes as the brilliant Tom Hunt cut through the defence to dot down -again converted by McAvoy.
Welsh were back in business and the half time score of 21-14 brought back memories of teh Welsh win at Camberley in the same fixture last season, when Welsh looked to be out of the game only to come back for a bonus point win.
The second half continued with Welsh dominance as the exiles enjoyed the lions share of territory and possession for the first 15 minutes. There was a penalty slotted by McAvoy on 43minutes to ensure a perfect start to the half and cut the difference to 21 – 17. Cambo went down to 10 men at the same time with an infringement that the referee felt merited some time on the naughty step. Welsh hammered home the advantage with their 3rd try on 55 minutes, big Andy Black powering over with the conversion missed Welsh took the lead 22 to 21.
Cambo though showed their quality in the final quarter, crossing on 60 minutes with a converted score to swing the score back in the home side’s favour 28-22. Welsh were very close to hitting back immediately, but top ball carrier Tololima Savaiinaeawa was held up just short and Cambo cleared. This was the last sniff that Welsh were to have in winning the match as Cambo produced a moment of magic on 70 minutes as they got their 5th try through Alex Hughes after some sublime action in the back line – the conversion taking Cambo clear on 35-22.
Cambo sealed the icing on the score line on 79 minutes with their 6th of the day as Welsh tried desperately to get their bonus point try and were hot on the counter. The final scoring ending 42-22 to the home side.
Another frustrating match, taking the tally of matches this season that Welsh have been winning on the 60 minute mark but went on to lose (without any points) to 5! Welsh have certainly already learned a lot this season in a return to national league rugby and level 5; all in preparation for the next stage of project reset next season.
Camberley proved as tough an opponent as ever and took their tally to 3-1 in their favour in meetings between the two sides in the last two seasons; whether the fixture will be repeated next season depends upon a big 5 week block now for Cambo as they look to chase down league leader Wimbledon. Welsh matched Camberley for much of this match but in the end Camberley are a well drilled and very strong side, that always had a little too much for their visitors.
There were very strong performances from Welsh ever present Ben Davies, superb 9 Adam Nixon, flying Tom Hunt and the abrasive Lima Sava! Player of the Match though went to Osian McAvoy at 10 for Welsh who caused the home defence extensive trouble all afternoon.
Try Scorers: Dafydd Manley, Tom Hunt and Andy Black.
Con: Mcavoy x 2
Penalty : McAvoy x 1