After a summer of anticipation, following London Welsh’s 4th promotion in as many seasons, the first league game of the season away to Maidenhead was not the start that Welsh supporters had hoped for. In many way, Welsh had become accustomed to starting the season with great success: this was the first time in 6 years that Welsh had not won their opening league game of the season, indeed all of the preceding 4 seasons had seen Welsh open the campaign with an away league win.
However, this was a very different experience away to Maidenhead and somewhat of a tough welcome to level 5 rugby. This was the biggest London Welsh defeat in 6 years since the 35-12 loss to London Irish in the 2016/17 Championship campaign.
This was not though a game in which London Welsh were played off the park, quite the opposite. Welsh were very much in this game until the 66th minute dismissal of Rohan Pixley for a second yellow card. The half time score sat at 18-5 and indeed at 50 minutes the score was 18-10.
However, an undercooked Welsh side were never in control of the match and in the last 15 minutes shipped 5 tries in short order, all of which were converted.
Welsh will point to the 12 players that were injured or unavailable for this match and that of course did not help their cause. That said, Maidenhead were excellent in this game, their level of fitness, mobile pack and exciting back line took full advantage of an under strength Welsh side that were not prepared for the sustained Maidenhead pressure.
Welsh’s fate was sealed as 4 tries were run in almost one after the other from the 66th minute when losing a man for the remainder of the game proved a step too far. Usual star performer, player of the season in both 19/20 and 21/22, Rohan Pixley received his first yellow card in the 22nd minute, this was followed by a second yellow for entry to the ruck in the 66th minute.
Welsh will learn from this game though – all at the club are well aware that this season is the biggest step along the journey since project reset and that this league will be a real test.
Welsh will look forward to Round 2 and another away journey, to Royal Wootton Bassett. Welsh will be very conscious that momentum and continuity is key and will also hope to welcome back players from injury as they look to get their season under way.
Welsh Player of the Match: Sion Cowdy
Tries: Louie Groark, Griff Whitson, Jacob Butler
Con: x 1 Daf Manley
|September 3, 2022
|Regional 1 South Central
|Braywick Road, Bray Wick, Bray, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, England, SL6 1UZ, United Kingdom