RUGBY: Determined Rugby Welsh hang on for a gritty win
Victory over Birmingham Exiles to stay third in the league
Midlands 5 West (South)
Birmingham Exiles 10 Rugby Welsh 17
Matches between these two sides are always competitive, played in good spirit and this game was no different with Welsh showing plenty of grit and determination to hang on for a narrow victory.
On a cold blustery afternoon the home side had the benefit of conditions in the first half and generally dominated the territory battle.
However the Welsh defence a, a feature of their season was strong and Exiles were unable to breach their defence.
Midway through the half from their first worthwhile attack Adam Bond made a half break and gave an inside pass to Jack Taylor who showed good strength to crash over near the corner for a try which was excellently converted by Angus Wilson.
Welsh continued to defend for the rest of the half but their scrummage and lineout were solid which helped to prevent Exiles from gaining any long periods of possession. Eventually Exiles reduced the gap with a try through their forwards to leave Welsh narrowly ahead 7-5 at half time.
The second half saw replacement George Lowe make an immediate impression when he found a magnificent line from full back to break the midfield defence with only a strong tackle from the fullback preventing a score.
Adam Bond kicked astutely to put Welsh in the right areas of the pitch and then they began to use the catch and drive at the lineout effectively. Exiles gave away a series of penalties which led to a player being sinbinned and whilst Welsh could not initially make benefit of the extra man they did increase their lead when Angus Wilson created the space for George Lowe to score in the corner.
Welsh were now on charge and an amazing 50-metre dash from second row Jamie Roche nearly increased his sides lead with an unsighted ref unable to see if Andy Higham had scored from Roche’s inside pass.
However from the subsequent scrummage space was created for Gareth Hart to score a well taken try in the corner to give Welsh a 17-5 lead with less than a quarter of the game left.
To Exiles credit they responded well and Welsh were forced to reorganise their back line following injuries to Jack Taylor and Anthony Reynolds.
The Exiles backs looked dangerous and began to make some line breaks and from one of these their fullback scored a try in the corner.
The final ten minutes saw the home side throw everything at the Welsh who continued to stand firm.
In the final move of the game Exiles experienced flyhalf made a break and appeared to be scoring under the posts until captain Adam Bond produced an amazing last ditch tackle to produce a knock on and ensure a Welsh victory.
Welsh can be pleased with this gritty performance and a good start to 2018.