Vees spirited in defeat to Welsh
Third straight defeat for Vees
London Welsh Amateurs 22
A LARGE crowd gathered at Cotlandswick in anticipation to see if Verulamians could get back to winning ways at home against London Welsh Amateurs. Sadly for the home support the Vees succumbed to a third straight defeat.
Despite the defeat however, the Vees did show glimpses of their previous good form with a spirited fight back.
The visitors arrived in St Albans on the back of some impressive away wins and the Verulamians players knew they needed to step up to the mark.
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The opening five minutes was all one way traffic for the Vees as the played some fast attacking rugby and when stand-in captain Westhead broke through a gap he looked as if he would open the scores but he was hauled down with five metres to go.
London Welsh responded strongly and soon put their impressive set piece to work with both lineout and scrum functioning well. This control of the set piece proved vital throughout the game as the Vees forwards had to battle every inch for good front foot ball. After a rolling maul the away team won a penalty but failed to take an early lead and within minutes the Vees took a three point lead after a good chase from a long twenty-two drop out.
It did not take long for the visitors to respond and after a penalty at the breakdown on half way Welsh kicked for the corner. From the lineout the visiting pack set the maul and powered their way over the try line, but the conversion was missed.
The Vees tried to get themselves back in the game by keeping the ball in hand but struggled as they were kept pinned in their own half by some good defensive play from Welsh.
It was from this building pressure that the visitors claimed their second score. After a misplaced pass in the home twenty-two the ball bobbled and the impressive London Welsh scrumhalf punted the ball ahead. With wing Waters covering he looked in control of the situation until the combative scrumhalf pulled the winger back to sneak in and score. After much protest the score was given and the Vees felt hard done by as they neared the halftime break. With the conversion successful London Welsh had opened up a 12 points to three lead.
The game began to creep away from the home side as Welsh extended their lead early in the second half.
Once again the Welsh pack demonstrated their power and dominance in the tight and after a rolling maul which was followed by some commanding driving from the base of the ruck they crashed over in the corner. The conversion was missed but the visitors now had a fourteen point lead.
The Vees however did not capitulate and picked up the pace and intensity looking for a way back into the game. The forwards carried well and finally gave the backs the quick ball they had been waiting for allowing the likes of centre Woolley to produce some scintillating breaks but the home side failed to register a score.
Unfortunately for the Vees this fast and loose style of play came with a price as the mercurial Welsh scrumhalf intercepted and weaved his way to the line taking the visitors lead to twenty two points to three.
With time on the clock the Vees refused to admit defeat and continued to attempt a fight back.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 70th minute when replacement wing Brown picked a hard and aggressive line to race over the whitewash from twenty metres out. This was created on the back of some fast and direct play from the pack and good control from the Vees halfbacks Browne and Crowne. The conversion was taken and the Vees now found themselves nine points behind with ten minutes to play.
An unlikely comeback was on the cards but despite being put under immense pressure and after a period of ill-discipline the London Welsh defence stayed strong.
Verulamians left the on looking crowd disappointed having left it late in the game to get into gear. Despite the loss there was a glimmer of hope for the Vees in their brave performance in the final quarter.
The Cotlandswick side will hope to realise the potential of their late counter attack in their next outing against Hackney.
Vees: Graham, S Crowne, Buss, Luckhurst, Wildey, Morgan, Westhead, Coyle, Browne, T Crowne, Paton, Atkins, Woolley, Waters, Ricci. Reps: Matthews, Grey, Brown.