Entertaining game in front of Vice Presidents
Midlands 5 West (South)
Rugby Welsh 17
Birmingham Exiles 8
Welsh produced a very satisfying team performance to clinch their first league victory of the season against a strong Exiles side.
Matches between these two sides are always well fought and this game was no different as, despite the inclement weather conditions, an entertaining game took place in front of a good sized VPs crowd.
The early stages were played at a frantic pace with both sides looking to run the ball at every opportunity. Both sets of backs looked dangerous but strong defence initially nullified attacking opportunities. Welsh took the lead when Adam Bond made a half break giving the opportunity for Anthony Reynolds to step inside his opposite winger and race in for well taken unconverted try. Exiles then had a period of pressure but Welsh defence remained firm although they were forced to give a penalty away which narrowed their lead to 5-3 midway through the half.
The Welsh pack then began to control proceedings with their set piece work particularly effective. Jamie Roche and Leigh Colledge won plenty of lineout ball, but it was at the scrummage that Welsh caused the most problems. Jason Reynolds scrummaged well in the unaccustomed position of prop, ably supported by Keith Cooper and the returning Wayne Grant. They pushed back the opposition numerous times with the front five dominating and this led to their second try.
From a five metre scrum No8 Andy Higham scored a pushover try, well converted by Angus Wilson.
The second half saw conditions deteriorate further but Welsh began the half in similar vein, dominating the forward battle with Roche making a number of powerful runs and proving difficult to stop. Matty Richards was always at the heart of the action both in attack and defence. From a 5 metre lineout Welsh drove the opposition backwards and the hardworking Lorenzo scored a try.
Injuries then began to affect Welsh and they lost some of their momentum on the final stages of the game. However despite working hard Exiles were never able to pressurise the home defence for long periods. They were able to score a deserved try for their efforts with the final play of the game but Welsh can be pleased with their afternoon efforts with many former players on the touchline recognising the improvements in the side over recent times.
Man of the Match: Matty Richards.
This weekend Welsh face Barkers Butts Tanners, kick-off 3pm at Alwyn Road.