Last kick penalty heartbreak in opening league fixture
Plenty of positives despite narrow defeat
Rugby Welsh 26 Birmingham Civil Service 28
In an enthralling contest Welsh narrowly lost out to a last gasp penalty in their opening league fixture. Civil Service are a well drilled side who have a good blend of large experienced forwards and youthful backs and they dominated the opening exchanges. Their fly half kicked well throughout, used the conditions well and two penalties gave them an early lead.
Welsh worked their way back in to the contest and realised they needed to move the ball around to work the opposition pack. Colledge and Higham were at the heart of the forward drives whilst the welcome return of Gibson to the side strengthened the front row. Nick Hayward had an outstanding game at centre making powerful runs and defending well, ably assisted by captain Adam Bond. However the opposition defence was strong and from a breakaway they scored a converted try to increase their lead to thirteen points. Welsh responded and deservedly reduced the arrears with Adam Bond showing good strength to crash over for a try from short range which was converted by Angus Wilson. However with the last move of the half Civil Service created another opportunity and their winger scored a converted try to give them a 20-7 lead.
The second half saw Welsh winning more possession and Civil Service giving away more penalties as the home side continued to try and play the game at pace. Angus Wilson narrowed the gap with three well struck penalties before Civil Service tried to slow the game down and use their good mauling techniques to deny Welsh possession. Following a Welsh sinbinning Civil Service appeared to have sealed victory with an unconverted try but despite being down to 14 men Welsh stuck to their plans and were rewarded, firstly through a Wilson penalty, and then following a series of forward drives Leigh Colledge crashed over for a try near the touchline. An excellent conversion from Wilson meant Welsh were ahead for the first time with a couple of minutes left. However Civil Service worked their way in to the Welsh 22, and sealed the win with the last kick following a penalty award.
Despite the defeat there were plenty of positives which Welsh will hope to build on when they travel to Birmingham Exiles this weekend.