Old Haberdashers RFC II vs London Welsh Druids
The Druids found themselves on the road to Borehamwood for their first league match of the year in the London Merit Premier.
Traffic on the North Circular, the late request to move changing rooms or the fact the home team were only able to field 14 player did not put a strong Druids team off.
After a few early minutes of settling into the game the Druids were on the score board, with Lloyd Davies moving the ball wide to find number 8 James Downing in midfield who took the try opportunity which was quickly converted by Elis Staines
Minute later however it was some loose tackle by the Welsh that saw the Old Boys number 8 break away for a good score. With the score at 5:7 and possession being quite even everything was set for a good competitive game.
With the Welsh now settled into the game it quickly became apparent that with Sam Mahoney back for his first game in a couple of years we would dominate the remainder of the game up front. A solid Welsh scrum saw the ball quickly moved out into the centre of the filed where strong running from Elis Staines saw him in under the post for a try he converted himself.
Moments later Tan Chabatawa rose up from the Welsh line out like an Ariane rock bound for space. The ball was feed from the top of the line to no 9 Robbie Frazier who swiftly distributed the ball into the back line. Number 8 and captain Downing was once again looking for opportunities in the mid field and set off down the field from just inside the Welsh half for the 3rd Welsh try. Converted by Staines in sevens style to make the score OB 5:21 Druids.
The 4th try came immediately from the restart. This time Ewan Gully making a searing run down the far touch time and with a delicate off load that would have graced super rugby Aotearoa, sets Andy May up to sprint under the post for his first try of the afternoon. That man Staines was there again with his boot to put the conversation over and the score board 5:28 after 30 mins.
The next few minute saw momentum swing as Haberdashers re-entered the game. The Old Boys 10 had already shown some class distributing of the ball but we now saw some adept touch line kicking from hand which put Welsh back down on their own line. The resulting line out saw the welsh backs off side and a penalty conceded, quick thinking and an even faster tap in front of the post saw the OB over under the post for a converted try . The restart saw Welsh putting OB under pressure again but a forced pass on the old boys 22 saw the ball intercepted by the smallest man on the field, who quickly made his way down to the other end of the paddock. The Welsh however got back in numbers saving a certain try and winning a scrum on our 22.
The resultant passage of play saw the ball moving between forward and backs with Robbie Frazier at 9 popping up to score under the posts. This time it was Ewan Gully applying sevens skills for a quick drop kick conversation to make the score Old HB 12 : 35 Druids.
The Welsh were now in the ascendancy, this time a superb line from Fred Howell saw him slice right though the old HB line with a short pass from Staines. A try being the result and a manful long range effort from Staines saw the ball fall short.
From the restart we are off again, this time its Gully demonstrating pace and power down the touch time, spacial awareness and lovely feet to step the old boys full back brings another try which he self converts.
With the whistle going for half time the score stood at old boys 12 : 47 Druids
With our water bottles empty due to the heat, the Welsh were suitably hydrated and started the 2nd half in dazzling fashion . This time a Staines missed pass puts Fred Howells clear and over for a try. Old Boys 12 : Druids 52
A good reset sees Welsh defending their line but from adversity comes the best try of the day. A Welsh attack that started on our own goal line sees phases of play that involve both backs and forwards making progress up the field. A bit of classic Lloydy magic sees the 10 provide a delightful reverse off load to Staines who makes his way to the line, before feeding No2 Andy May for his second of the day. Old Boys 12 : 59 Druids
With some 30mins remaining on the clock the Welsh were going to rattle up a pretty big score but circumstances on the old boys 1st team game in London 1 North were to impact the rest of the afternoon. With a player injured with a broken leg, a request was made to the 2nd team captains to bring the game to a close so that the pitch could be used to conclude the first team league fixtures.
Final score Old Habidashers II 12:59 London Welsh Druids
Man of the match for his two try’s and all around leadership. Captain James Downing
A big shout out to the London Welsh Supporters club who ensure the team travelled together on a players bus.
Next week the Druids look forward to their first home league game against one of the two Rosslyn Park sides in this league. A great opportunity to enjoy your London Welsh play locally if you are not able to travel to Horsham.
The Merit Table season starts this Saturday and takes Druids to Old Habs. This season is a big step up for the London Welsh 2nd team as they join Middlesex Merit Table Premier after finishing the 2019/20 season clear champions of MMT1.
Druids warmed up for the season with wins over Bracknell 2s and Brighton 2s and then put together a good performance in Cardiff. A two week gap since the preseason games leaves them fresh and ready to go this weekend.
Old Habs 2s ended the 2019/20 season in 3rd place, beyond HAC 2s and league champions Belsize Park 2s.
Kick off at Croxdale Road is at 2.30pm.
|September 18, 2021||2:30 pm||Middlesex Merit Table Premiership||2021/22||80'|
|Elstree and Borehamwood, Borehamwood, Hertsmere, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, WD6 4PY, United Kingdom|
|Old Habs 2||0||12|
|London Welsh Druids||0||59|