London Welsh made it back-to-back bonus point wins with a comfortable victory over Moseley at Old Deer Park on Sunday, to keep up the pace at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship.
On a weekend when Leeds Carnegie, Rotherham Titans and London Scottish all recorded wins, Welsh were not to be found wanting as they racked up five tries against Moseley, to match the five they scored the previous weekend at Ealing Trailfinders.
Welsh’s start was as bright as the glorious sunshine that bathed Old Deer Park – Nathan Morris touching down inside the opening minute after Oliver Thomas’ kick was charged down.
Joe Ajuwa’s try helped the Exiles take a commanding 21-6 lead into the break, with Alex Davies adding 11 points with the boot, and Justin Burnell’s side effectively made sure of the victory when Ollie Stedman crossed within four minutes of the restart.
Two tries from dangerous Moseley winger Matthew Williams sandwiched Stedman’s second try, before Nick Scott closed out the scoring.
Welsh couldn’t have asked for a better start. Carl Kirwan charged down Oliver Thomas’ attempted clearance kick, and Morris accepted the gift, picked up and dived over.
Thomas and Davies traded penalties, before the Moseley fly half missed the chance to close the gap – his attempt slipping just wide of the left hand upright.
That miss allowed Welsh to extend their lead through Davies after a crooked Moseley scrum feed gave the Exiles a free kick from which they opted for a scrum. Moseley were then adjudged offside in front of their own posts.
With Welsh now firmly in control they extended their lead when Ajuwa profited from a nice interchange between Davies and Daniel Browne - the scrum half combining twice with his number eight following a scrum before floating a pass out to Ajuwa on the right wing. Ajuwa had the pace and strength to finish off a nice move in the corner.
Davies couldn’t convert but Welsh’s lead was still a very healthy 15 points, and although Thomas slotted over his second penalty his strike was cancelled out soon after by Davies’ third penalty of the afternoon. The latter coming after Moseley centre Scott Armstrong was sent to the sin for a deliberate knock on.
With Welsh leading 21-6 at the break, Moseley needed to strike first. Instead the Exiles needed just four minutes to seemingly put the result beyond doubt, as Stedman broke the Moseley defensive line 35 metres out and had the determination to fend off all comers to force his way over.
Within three minutes, however, Moseley were celebrating a try at the other end - Williams showing his raw speed and finishing ability to go over in the corner. Thomas added an excellent touchline conversion and Welsh knew they still had work to do before they could celebrate victory.
With the game continuing to open up, Welsh responded. Another deliberate knock on from Moseley may have this time brought only a penalty, but it was enough for Welsh to capitalise on. Davies pushed the penalty into the corner and although the initial catch and rive attempt was repelled by the visitors, Welsh pressure eventually brought its reward when Stedman found a gap to claim his second try of the afternoon.
Again though Moseley replied and again it came through their pacey winger, Williams. Williams juggling a pass before speeding over in the same corner.
After four tries in a crazy nine-minute spell nine, a calm descended upon Old Deer Park. Tom May came close for Welsh, as both sides rang the changes, but otherwise we’d have to wait a further 20 minutes for the game’s seventh and final try.
It came from Scott – his fifth Championship try of the season for Welsh – but only after Moseley had come mightily close to a third try of their own. Christopher Brightwell cut through the red jerseys on a great angle only to be hauled down just short of the Welsh line, but was then penalised for holding on in the tackle.
Within moments, Scott was racing away to score at the other end after the path to the Moseley tryline just opened up for the Welsh winger.
As at Ealing eight days earlier, it was a case of job done for Justin Burnell’s Exiles and they’ll head to Cornish Pirates next weekend knowing that it offers the chance to move up to second in the table, as well as close the gap on leaders Bristol, with neither in action.
London Welsh scorers:
Tries: Stedman (2), Morris, Ajuwa, Scott; Cons: Davies (3), Robinson; Pens: Davies (3).
Tries: Williams; Cons: Thomas; Pens: Thomas (2).
Referee: Dean Richards
Referee Assistants: Paul Kimber & Paul Burton