Fitness really showing through, setting up a mouth-watering league campaign
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 5 West (South)
Rugby Welsh 50 Keresley 21
On Saturday Rugby Welsh hosted Keresley for a much anticipated league game that didn’t disappoint.
In difficult conditions Keresley opted to go with the wind first half, a decision that suited Welsh who were confident in their packs fitness. However, the decision looked to be a good as straight from the off Welsh were put under pressure by a traditionally strong Keresley pack.
Having resisted the initial onslaught Welsh got a foot holding and were coping well with the conditions before a missed tackle in midfield allowed the Keresley centre, who looked dangerous throughout to touch down under the posts.
Welsh responded well, securing some possession and gaining territory through some decent phases. The lineout was working particularly well, especially given the conditions and the Welsh pack’s confidence grew as the half wore on. A lineout on the Keresley 22 was taken well by Jamie Roche and with the pack well an incredibly well organised maul ensued resulted in a score for Andy Higham
Having gained a foothold Welsh then conceded a soft try. A penalty to Keresley on half way and with the entire Welsh 15 looking the wrong way Keresley sped the ball out wide with the outside centre again touching down under the posts.
In fairness to the Welsh their reaction was excellent and again the game was taken to Keresley in spite of the conditions. Following a couple of phases and a neat off load from Adam Bond, James Buckland broke from halfway to score under the Keresley posts.
With their tales up the Welsh really started to build the phases and enjoyed a sustained period of possession. Having let a couple of half chances slip some excellent work down the blind side from Bond and then Gavin Daniels put Andy Higham over the whitewash for his second of the afternoon and put Welsh in the lead for the first time.
However again Keresley made the most of Welsh mistakes, when following a number of missed tackles the their scrum half, outstanding as always, touched down under the posts to give his side a narrow half-time lead, 19- 21.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were tight, just as you’d expect from two good sides slugging it out. As the half wore on Welsh started to exert some pressure which eventually told as Jamie Roche crashed over from close range to again put Welsh in front, 24 – 21.
Soon after Welsh started to establish some quick ball and with the wind assisting them were pinning Keresley back in their own territory.
Following an excellent scrum the ball was fed to Buckland who managed to sneak through a gap and touch down and finally give the Welsh some breathing space
What followed was nothing short of miraculous. The final fifteen minutes was some the most dominant Welsh play in many years and three quick tries sealed an emphatic win. First Gareth Hart stole a try from Adam Bond whose chip and chase was judged to perfection,. Next a determined charge down and gather from Jason Reynolds was just rewards for outstanding afternoons work both in the tight and at the set piece
With the resulting kick off and with time almost up Jamie Roche then capped a remarkable individual performance with a 50m gallivant, prancing his way around would be tacklers to touch down under the posts for his second of the afternoon and, with the conversion, bring up the 50 point mark for Welsh.
A dominant second half performance with the Welsh fitness really showing through sets up a mouth-watering league campaign. Welsh welcome Leamington 2nds at Alwyn road this Saturday, looking to continue their rich run of form.