Back in action but still affected by injuries and unavailabilities
Midlands 5 West (South)
Birmingham Exiles 33
Rugby Welsh 19
Welsh put the last couple of weeks behind them and the 15 players who took the pitch can be proud of their performance against a useful Exiles outfit.
The side are still affected by injuries and unavailabilities but immediately pressurised the home side with the forward going through several phases.
However, from a counter attack Exiles took the lead after five minutes with their winger racing in for a long distance converted try. Welsh kept to their game plan with Colledge and Beecham winning plenty of lineout possession to set up the forward drives. Captain Adam Bond constantly made ground with his powerful runs. He soon created an unconverted try, with a lovely inside pass, for scrum half Angus Wilson who crashed over from short range. Welsh created further opportunities but another long range converted saw Exiles lead 14-5 at half time.
Playing up hill in the second half Welsh started impressively and the self- belief in the side improved. Jack Taylor made a sublime midfield break and only a last ditch tackle prevented Anthony Reynolds from scoring in the corner. However, from a subsequent five-metre scrum Adam Bond powered over for a try which Wilson converted.
To Exiles’ credit they responded well and began to make changes in their side to give them fresh impetus. Their forwards began to win more ball to provide more possession for their pacey backline. They scored another converted try but again Welsh responded well. A quickly taken penalty well inside his own half saw Angus Wilson make a break and Jack Taylor was on his shoulder to race in from the half way line for a try which Wilson converted to reduce the gap to 21-19 with under 20 minutes left.
Unfortunately injuries and a lack of replacements were to prove crucial in the final stages of the contest. As Jason Reynolds lay injured and could not continue with a knee injury Exiles capitalised to score another try, followed shortly afterwards by another through their backs. Reduced to 14 men, Welsh still kept going despite players suffering knocks which reduced their involvement in the game. George Lowe had an outstanding game at full back, not dropping a high ball and counter attacking effectively.
The whole team deserve praise for their efforts and they were unfortunate not to go away without a try-scoring bonus point following a period of pressure at the end of the game.
Welsh now have a break from league action but it is important they keep up the momentum from this performance with training continuing to take place on a Thursday night.