Ahead of this game Fullerians had been seen by many as being the trickiest of the early season fixtures but they came up against a London Welsh team that stepped up a gear or two compared to their first three games.
Welsh kicked off and kept their supporters waiting just five minutes to see the opening score of the game. A Welsh scrum five metres in from the stand side of the pitch fed the ball back to Dan Hiscocks who dispatched a quick pass to fly half Rhys Williams. Williams beat three Fullerians players and as the fourth player brought him to a halt Elliot Hopkin carried the ball on for a few more metres before Rhodri Dawes ran in to take the final pass and score under the posts. Dawes then added the conversion for an early 7-0 lead.
A misunderstanding of changes in the laws lead to Fullerians levelling the score. Welsh inadvertently took the ball over their own line and conceded a scrum and then were penalised in the set piece. Fullerians took the chance to inch closer to the line and their second row, Liam Boyd, took the ball over the try line. Daniel Evans’ put over the conversion.
Long passes by Dan Hiscocks, Rhys Williams and centre Aaron Hopkins got the backs moving for the next try. The ball was quickly moved out wide from a Welsh lineout in their own half and Elliot Hopkin showed his pace on the wing to take the ball to just outside the 22. Club captain Chris Lilly received the pass and 10 metres out flicked the ball inside for Dan Hiscocks to take and score. Dawes’s conversion put Welsh seven points ahead again at the end of the first quarter.
Fullerians used a penalty advantage to launch an attack of their own first via their left wing and then, in the centre of the pitch, through the combined efforts of their pack. Rhys Williams came close to an interception try but the referee called play back. A second attempted interception by Welsh failed to go to hand and the referee, deciding that it was a deliberate knock on, awarded Fullerians a penalty straight in front of the posts. Daniel Evans was successful with the kick.
The Welsh lineout was the starting point for their third try of the game. Dan Ginger took the catch and fed the ball to Hiscocks who again linked up with Rhys Williams. The fly half caused the Fullerians defence problems all afternoon and featured twice in this move towards the goal line, His first run the ball to Lilly who took the ball to ground. He was quickly joined by the pack and scrum half and passes to Elis Staines and Williams put Aaron Hopkins over near the corner. Dawes puts the difficult conversion between the posts and Welsh were 21-10 ahead.
Williams fired a long kick downfield to give the position that lead to the bonus point try. Fullerians lineout throw wasn’t straight and Welsh opted for a lineout of their own instead of the scrum. The pack formed around Tom Baldwin’s when he landed from the take and three of the backs ran in to add their weight. Ahmed Yahye took possession of the ball to score his fourth try of the season and Dawes’ conversion gave London Welsh a 28-10 half time lead.
A kick downfield put Fullerians under pressure early in the second half and a penalty for offside gave Welsh the chance to add more points. Although the kick went wide the 22m restart was gathered by Chris Lilly who passed to Rhys Williams. The fly half ran the ball from inside his own half to beyond Fullerians’ 22m line where he passed the ball on to Elliot Hopkin for the winger to score.
Welsh stretched their lead further ten minutes later. A dropped pass by Fullerians was picked up by Elis Staines and a short pass to speedy Dan Hiscocks left the scrum half with a run from his own half to score. Dawes put over his fifth conversion of the game and the scoreboard moved on to 40-10.
Rhys Williams nearly topped off his Man of the Match performance with a try of his own when he hacked a loose ball ahead twice but knocked on in the scramble for the line. Chris Lilly was more successful 25 minutes into the half. A Welsh lineout was taken cleanly, Hiscocks passed to Lilly and the centre barged through two tackles for his team’s final points.
Fullerians remained in the search for another try and a good attacking move was brought to an end by a knock on. In the closing minutes of the game they broke through for their third try when Curtis Woodham found his way through the Welsh defence for his second of the game. The quickly taken conversion went wide of the posts. Fullerians were unable to take anything from the one play after the restart and London Welsh celebrated four bonus point wins from the first four games of the season.
Full time London Welsh 45 Fullerians 15
Penderyn Distilleries Man of the Match: Rhys Williams