MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 1XV (31) v LONDON WELSH 1XV (27)
Match reporter: Stuart Montgomery
With unprecedented rainfall over the previous 3 days it was a testament to the improved drainage that has been implemented over the last 3 years and the game comfortably went ahead. This was always going to be a tight game with the sides just one place apart in the league and purely on points difference.
London Welsh started well with 2 dominant scrums setting the standard and extracted a penalty and ball going forward. Using quick possession the LW centre made a half break around the TW 22 and the full back was used to put the winger in, a good conversion saw a 0-7 score in just 5 minutes.
A more stable scrum saw TW extract a penalty whilst moving the ball wide, kick to the corner and a clean catch saw the ball held up just a metre out but a LW forward was given a yellow card – looking very close to a penalty try. Sustained pressure just metres away from the line saw another penalty to TW in front of the posts and Archie Warren duly converted (called upon early due to injury), 3-7. Both sides were playing confident rugby and a good tackle in the middle of the pitch by Webster was not taken well by the LW centre who saw red mist and received a red card for his reactions and TW a yellow card for the ensuing scuffle.
LW went further ahead after some good sustained defence by TW but an offside right in front of the posts was probably the best outcome that could have happened, 3-10. 5 minutes before half time TW attacked down the right hand side and some good handling saw Webster straighten and then beat the full back on the outside – George Montgomery kicked 10 yards from touch, 10-10. TW weren’t finished and in the last play of the first half their good ball retention was rewarded after a steady scrum 5 metres out and 4 phases before Ben Isbell crashed over, George converted to make it 17-10.
Another good start saw immediate pressure from the LW scrum and their handling was good to work a try under the posts after 5 attempts, the conversion made it 17-17. TW made a change at tight head which was only short term as Hawkins had to retire bringing John Petty back on. For whatever reason these changes stabilised the scrummage which gave TW a more stable platform, their lineout continued to function well throughout. LW tried a long range penalty which seemed the first time they wondered how to break the game up. TW had a good 15 minutes and a good scrum should have seen a try but for a loose final pass, however, another stable scrum in the LW 22 saw a delayed pass from George and Ali Main crashed over which was also converted, 24-17. LW kicked out on the full and some further great play by the driving forwards off of clean lineout ball saw another crossing the line only for the last pass to be adjudged forward.
TW emptied the bench and saw Archie Warren back on for Angus Horne and Toby Talbot on for Ben Isbell. Some good tactical kicking by TW to the LW 22 saw another excellent chance that should have been converted only for LW to clear their lines and score after just one visit to the TW 22, conversion tied the score 24-24.
Within the last 5 minutes LW gave everything to force a penalty in the TW 22 which was converted and celebrated as they suspected victory at 24-27. TW had other ideas and forced 2 penalties which were kicked deep into LW 22, Harrison Chapman took a clean ball, 6 phases took Wells to just a metre out with 2 penalties in play signalled. A late pass to George Montgomery saw the offside LW defence almost taking the pass but the ball was controlled and kicked to clear the LW wing with Max Hobbs rounding the full back to score in the corner and claim the try bonus point. George slotted the conversion to make it 31- 27 and the final whistle ended the day.
A great game with excellent handling, considering the conditions, and notable performances from Ben Whale who was immense and the tactical game management of George Montgomery.
Next week sees the 1st XV travel to CS Stags. Support always welcomed. Match details will be posted on the Club’s socials.