FULL MATCH REPORT WRITTEN BY COLIN ABBOTT
The team selection was a shock at first, but made sense after some thought. The big news was the inclusion of a newcomer at outside half, Matt Hodgson, plus the welcome return of Tom Hunt from his shoulder injury. Cai Griffiths decided to play Tom at right wing and Osian McAvoy at full back. How was this going to work out? We shall see!
The players and spectators stood for a minute’s silence before the match in memoriam for JPR Williams, who passed away earlier this month.
Marlborough started off with a hiccough because their kick-off failed to make the required ten yards. Play proceeded from the resulting scrum, with Welsh spending most of the time in the Marlborough half, thrusting runs moving them nearer the Marlborough line until Gareth Lewis went over for the first try. Tololima Savaiinaea converted. Score 7 – 0.
Both teams had their turn with possession and pushed forward whenever it was their turn. The new man at outside half was showing signs of being a running player in the true Welsh style. A period of intense pressure in the Marlborough half ended with Tom Hunt diving over on the right-hand side. Tololima Savaiinaea was unable to convert. Score 12 – 0.
Only four minutes later after Welsh had repeatedly pushed forward across the whole width of the Marlborough half, Tom Hunt scored again in the left corner. Tomolima Savaiinaea was unable to convert. Score 17 – 0.
After the restart the Welsh were off running in the Marlborough half; at a lineout only ten yards from the try line, Marlborough let Gareth Lewis to slip past them down the touch line for his second try in the right-hand corner. Tololima Savaiinaea was unable to convert. Score 22 – 0.
The Marlborough full back kicked off along the ground, chased his own ball, kicked on and eluding the Welsh players scrambling in defence collected the ball and scored in the right corner. Not converted. Score 22 – 5.
After the restart Marlborough ran the ball forward into the Welsh half, but couldn’t capitalise and Welsh were soon back well inside the Marlborough half. Welsh kept up the pressure on the opposition being awarded a couple of penalties which were used to kick for lineout position. Marlborough had a player yellow-carded; just after this Welsh moved the ball across the field and released Tom Hunt to score in the right-hand corner. Tololima Savaiinaea converted. Score 29 – 5.
After the restart play got stuck in the Welsh half and the first half ended with no further score.
Marlborough came out for the second half with great determination and scored a try in the corner from a lineout less than ten yards from the Welsh line. Try converted. Score 29 – 12.
At the restart Andy Black came on for Ben Davies. Welsh took play into the Marlborough half and some good running by the backs released Tomolima Savaiinaea down the right wing to score. He converted his own try. Score 36 – 12.
The Marlborough player came back on from his yellow card banishment, only for another of their players to be yellow-carded. Hywel Williams was replaced by Adam Nixon. Marlborough pushed into the Welsh half and used kicks downfield to keep the Welsh on the defensive, even forcing the Welsh to touch down behind their line at one point. There followed some minutes of frantic running of the ball by both teams on both sides of the centre line. Around this time Andy Black swapped with Tom Williams to play as No 8, the position he started in at London Welsh. Both teams were determined to run the ball and at this time shared the honours. Eventually Welsh pushed well up in the Marlborough half, and following a rolling maul Adam Nixon escaped to score. Try converted by Tololima Savaiinaea. Score 43 – 12.
The next series if plays again involved both teams running the ball at each other, but this ended with a couple of searching kicks from Marlborough resulting in them scoring another try. Try converted. Score 43 – 19.
The pace from the restart was very high with both teams producing some penetrating runs, one of which by Tom Hunt looked set for a try but his last pass was deemed forward. The Welsh kept Marlborough in their own half for the next ten minutes. Then Marlborough had a disastrous put-in to their lineout , Welsh acquired the ball and Matt Hodgson slipped through for his first try. Tololima Savaiinaea missed the conversion. Score 48 -19.
A couple of minutes later the match ended. Final Score 48 – 19. This was an exciting match to watch, for both teams. When I was a lad my father said to me that a team could only play as well as the other team would let them. Well I was impressed at how Marlborough played a running game against a Welsh team that let them do just that.
I have to say that Cai Griffiths team selection worked very well. Matt Hodgson is a find and looked completely at home, Osian McAvoy did very well at Full Back, and Tom Hunt just loves running! A word about Tom Douglas – he kept appearing in the three-quarter line on the attack; perhaps he thought his shirt number said 14, not 4!
Chay Bailey (1), Gareth Lewis (2), Jack Parkhurst (3), Tom Douglas (4), Ed Couzens (5), Ben Davies (6)(C), Rhydian George (7), Tom Williams (8), Hywel Williams (9), Matt Hodgson (10), Tom James (11), Tololima Savaiinaea (12), Elis Staines (13), Tom Hunt (14), Osian McAvoy (15); Sam Johnson (18), Andy Black (19), Adam Nixon (20).
|January 27, 2024
|Regional 1: South Central
|Old Deer Park
|Oxenhouse Lane, Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, Greater London, England, TW9 2AS, United Kingdom