London Welsh continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 20-12 victory over Cobham at a wet and windy Old Deer Park.
The home side started the better of the two teams despite being bereft of a number of 1st XV regulars in the pack, scoring a penalty right in front of the posts through Osian MacAvoy, within the first five minutes.
Ten minutes later, the visitors responded with a chance of their own. Cobham built pressure on a series of Welsh mistakes and ill-discipline, and almost scored too, but for the scrum half dropping the ball on the line. Welsh recovered from the scrum.
Five minutes later, the Exiles had their own opportunity to score thanks to a series of patient phases, and led to the referee blowing his whistle for an advantage that he called earlier. Again, McAvoy took the points on offer to give Welsh a 6-0 lead.
Just before the break, the home side get their first try of the match. A series of pick and goes and patient phases caused Welsh to finally score their first try of the afternoon through Number 8, Luke Crocker. McAvoy added the extras to make it 13-0.
On the brink of half time the visitors had the opportunity to score their first points of the game, but ultimately missed.
At half time, Welsh had a 13-0 lead.
Cobham started the second half the better of the two teams, creating serious pressure on Welsh’s five metre line. Although Welsh dealt with the initial pressure well, it did eventually lead to Cobham scoring their first try of the match. Once again, Welsh’s ill-discipline led to Cobham having a lineout on the Dragons’ five metre line. The visitors won the line out, which led to them scoring a push over try. The extras were missed.
In the 55th minute, the home side have the opportunity to build on their lead through another penalty from McAvoy, but the full back ended up missing.
However, Welsh did eventually build on their lead through a try from Liam Chennells. After the missed penalty, the Exiles continued to pressure the Cobham defence with a lineout just outside the visitors 22. A series of slow patient phases, going from one side of the pitch to the other eventually caused the centre to crash over. With the extras added, the home side had a fifteen point lead.
Cobham immediately responded with a try of the own. From the kick off, Welsh won the ball but ended up dropping it. Cobham’s winger, Dan Allchurch, took advantage, picked up the ball and sprinted for the line, and thanks to a missed tackle, scored just outside the posts. The extras were added to make it 20-12.
Welsh did have an opportunity to score their third try in the 65th minute but the ball was deemed to be held up thanks to brilliant defending by the visitors.
The remaining fifteen minutes were an exciting back and forth battle between both teams, with both defending well, but also making mistakes due to the weather conditions, and eventually led to Welsh winning the tie 20-12.
Despite not getting the bonus point win, Welsh still remain top of London 1 South by three points and will play third place Camberley in two weeks time.
We now enter the first rest weekend of the season and look forward to the return to fitness of 5 or 6 players over the coming week, ready to do battle for places in preparation for Camberley.
Penderyn Whisky London Welsh Man of the Match – Jack Anderson
TRIES: Luke Crocker, Liam Chennells
CON: McAvoy x 2
PENALTY: McAvoy x 2