Rugby St Andrews 1's vs Rugby Welsh
A Local Derby - Top of the Table vs Third
Rugby St Andrews 24 - Rugby Welsh 23
Counties 3 Midlands East (South)
This eagerly awaiting local derby was preceded by a minute’s silence following the passing away of Rugby Welsh former player and long-time Vice President Gareth Llewellyn. The match itself was a close affair going down to the wire with Saints clinching victory to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
The visitors made a good start to the game and a good break deep into Saints 22 was thwarted by a deliberate knock on which resulted in a Yellow Card and an easy opening penalty. Despite being a man short Saints secured possession from the restart and moved the ball wide to winger Ben Davison whose jinking run resulted in a try, converted by Chris Halcrow. The restart was secured by Saints but before they could make any ground, they were penalised for leading with a forearm which resulted in a second yellow card and reduced them to 13 men and only 8 minutes had been played. Rugby Welsh made this numerical advantage tell with a converted try after 13 minutes to retake the lead. With Saints back up to full strength the game became more even but unforced errors and poor discipline from both sides limited the attaching chances with Chris Halcrow kicking 2 penalties for Saints and Rugby Welsh cancelling these out with two of their own to give them a slender 16-13 advantage at the break.
The second half was much the same with both teams trying to find an elusive score and it turned into a battle in the midfield with both defences holding firm and neither team giving their opponents time or space as again errors and ill discipline meant a stop start match. As the game entered the final ten minutes it sprang back into life. Saints camped in the Welsh 22 and a number of forward drives were thwarted before Saints moved the ball wide and Full Back Jack Kettleborough spotted a gap to dive over for a try to give Saints the lead for the first time since the 7th minute. Saints again made a good break from the restart and went through the phases to slowly make their way up field. Saints pressure finally resulted in a penalty which Joe Hudson slotted from the 10 yard line via the upright to extend the lead to 5 points with 4 minutes of normal time plus a large amount of injury time to play. Saints again successfully cleared their lines and made progress into the Welsh half, with 80 minutes on the clock Saints pressed for another score and with the backs looking dangerous they were thwarted by a late tackle giving Joe Hudson the opportunity to further extend the lead with a second successful penalty to move 2 scores ahead. As the game moved into added time Rugby Welsh continued to pile on the pressure forcing Saints to concede penalties and with the last play of the game crossed under the posts for a converted try to earn themselves a well-deserved losing bonus point.
Saints were made to work very hard for their victory and the whole team put in a good shift to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and record their seventh consecutive league victory, they have also opened up a four-point gap at the top of the league following Northampton BBOBs surprising loss at Stamford College. Saints have a week off this week before making a first trip to Castle Donnington on 2nd December.