On the morning of Sunday 5th November, London Welsh Women woke to the news that we had a full 15 players for their home game against Chelmsford Bluebirds. There was now a sense of relief, but also a willingness that we can pull together as 15 to take on Chelmsford at home.
London Welsh had a very slick warm up on this warm autumnal day, there was confidence and excitement in the air. Paula Cooper kicked off and London Welsh chased the kick into the top left corner where the team held defensively strong. Chelmsford could not beat the defensive wall of the mighty London Welsh!
There is a Bluebirds scrum on the 22. The scrums have been very even so far. The ball is put in, passed through by the bluebirds pack and passed out to 10, to their 12 who gets a runaway try down by the Pagoda.
London Welsh regroup, they cannot be faulted in their efforts so far, it was a runaway try and all we can do is go back and continue to stick to our game plan.
Again Paula Cooper kicks off into the sun. London welsh attack as a brick wall. Chelmsford don’t like the pressure and it is knocked on. Welsh Scrum. The bluebirds prop is playing mind games with Rhiannon Ellis, she doesn’t react, staying strong and driving straight back.
The ball comes out to Coops, passed through the line, gaining ground towards the try line. MINERS is the call and the forwards take the ball one by one through. Serena Bailey drives through the Bluebirds. Allie Elliot Rouse next, then Louise Norris. The support is great! Nat Smith takes it blind with the support of Helena Potts with the support of Jenni McGivney. It’s going so well and this continues for a few more times, before the bluebirds see an opportunity to steal the ball. It’s turned over.
Our defence stays strong. The bluebirds can’t get passed us. Until they find a space again on the wing and accelerate to the try line.
We go again, London Welsh have not lost their heads. Paula Cooper kicks off, the kick is short but bounces past the 10. London Welsh are there and there and defensively set already. Both teams giving away penalties it’s an even and exciting set of plays. London Welsh who have previously settled into the opposition 22 now find themselves in their own half. Welsh hold strong. Defence has been strong this game and it doesn’t stop now, but the bluebirds manage to get it down to make the score 19-0.
Paula Cooper kicks off. Again London Welsh fly up as a line. Again penalties goes both ways, the bluebirds aren’t looking as strong in the scrum and London Welsh are back and settled in the opposition 22. Miners is called. Welsh know that the Bluebirds are fast to the ruck but our support is strong today. Jenni takes it in, Potts takes the ball through, Serena, Louise, Nat, Rhi, Allie, Karen. The pack are fighting through the line. The backs are ready for it now, we have drawn in all the Bluebirds. Jemima has told the forwards to hold as it goes from Coops, across to Issy Carrick, to Alice Harditsy, to Kat Lee who gets it down. London Welsh have scored and it was a great team try.
Welsh must now receive. Kick off happens and Alice H takes a great catch and runs it up, Welsh are now down to 14 so working hard to pull together and get back down to the clubhouse end of the pitch. There were some penalties against welsh, a knock on and the team ready for half time allows the Bluebirds to get another try.
There’s one final kick off before half time. It was a well fought half and London Welsh are ready to fight back in the second half. The sun will no longer be in our eyes and we are ready
London Welsh are receiving, they have regrouped and are ready for the second half. The ball as going wider in the second half, both Issy Carrick (now a flanker) and Alice H our super borrowed players making some great runs. Kat lee has received it out on the wing and has made great ground running it up, maybe she has a future in that position?
After a few plays Kat Underhill and Karen Cooper (now playing in the wing) have also made some fantastic runs and pushed the blue birds back into their 22. The forwards are ready again for their turn to take the ball up… Miners. Nat had taken it up. Jenni in support, Potts has taken it up with Serena and Rhi now drives through the Bluebirds making great ground but she is just short of the line, Issy Carrick spots the space under the posts, picks the ball up and dives over the line for London Welsh’s second try! The score is 19-12.
Welsh are ready to Kick off again. Heads up, the score line is tight. The Bluebirds receive and it is passed to their scrum half who makes a run for it, after three hands off to the beautiful London Welsh faces she put it down underneath the posts. Frustrating as it was, like London Welsh have done best this season they pulled together and prepared to receive the kick.
Alice H takes another catch and runs it straight up to the bluebirds. After a few phases and a few turnovers, London Welsh find themselves in the wording position of being in their own 15. This is when Coops takes the box kick… it goes long… it bounces in the pitch, it’s bounces out the pitch giving London Welsh good ground.
The line outs have been going well so far, but they have started reading our calls. The ladies have discussed a new plan and are ready to put it into action. The same “6 nasty” is called. Welsh maul it, but Nat quickly takes it out passes it out to 9 and Welsh get it down the line.
Unfortunately it has not worked so well in a line out taken a few moments later and the blue birds have got the ball back. A long kick by the Bluebirds and the ball bounces in normal egg shaped style allowed the bluebirds to kick it into the goal area and put it down to make the score 29-12.
For the final time London Welsh kick the ball to the Bluebirds who manage to find themselves in London Welsh’s 22. At this point Paula Cooper had gone down, blood gushing. There’s 9 minutes to go. London Welsh take this time to discuss how we get back up to the Pagoda. Our very own Tom Curry gets back up and we clash with the blue birds for another 9 minutes both teams running great lines. Both Kat Lee and Isabel Barclay have made great try saving tackles. Kat Underhill has made a great run.
London Welsh have a penalty at last play, we take the opportunity and it goes to a line out. They steal the ball but are quickly tackles out the pitch and the ref calls the final whistle.
This feels like a win to the London Welsh team who have pulled together from 11 to 15 and fought a good competitive match.
Jemima, Cassie and Lou have upped the game with their home bakes and 8 tired Welsh players head to Richmond for the fireworks after.
A successful day at Old Deer Park.
1 Serena Bailey
2 Louise Norris
3 Rhi Ellis
4 Jenni McGivney
5 Allie Elliot Rouse
6 Helena Potts
7 Karen Cooper
8 Nat Smith
9 Jemima Venning
10 Paula Cooper
11 Alice Hardisty
12 Issy Carrick
13 Kat Underhill (C)
14 Kat Lee
15 Isabel Barclay
|November 5, 2023||2:00 pm||Women's NC1 : South East (North)||2023/24||80'|
|Old Deer Park|
|Oxenhouse Lane, Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, Greater London, England, TW9 2AS, United Kingdom|