London Welsh Amateurs 12 Crusaders 6: End of the road for Crusaders
PUBLISHED: 06:27 29 February 2016
Crusaders’ travelled to Old Deer Park for this quarter-final to play on the hallowed turf where the likes of Welsh greats JPR and JJ Williams often dazzled the crowd.
A good vociferous following of supporters drowned the local support in the main stand and, despite the narrow defeat, left with nothing but pride for their team’s 100pc effort.
Facing a larger pack Crusaders soon began to stamp their authority and good work in the line-outs by Loui White produced good ball for their three-quarters, but London Welsh’s well organised defence made progress difficult. Crusaders continued to press but a wayward pass was seized upon and a quick feed to winger Adam Brown saw him streak away for a 60 metre dash to score out wide, with the conversion missed.
Crusaders’ response was to build more pressure in the London Welsh 22 with Pete Blinkhorn and George King making driving runs - they were rewarded with a penalty but Jonathan Payne’s attempt drifted wide. The fly-half made amends when pressure earned a further penalty which made it 5-3.
Crusaders were growing in confidence and contained London Welsh in their own half but a flat defence was repelling everything thrown at it. A trademark Payne grubber kick just clipped a defender’s heel to roll to safety.
The home side increased their lead when Crusaders, who had committed everyone to attack, were left floundering when Brown’s timely interception on the halfway line gave him a clear run in for his second try which was converted. Crusaders’ forwards continued to work tirelessly and earned another penalty converted by Payne to reach half-time 12- 6 down.
The home side started the second half with the wind at their backs, their task should have been easier but Crusaders had other ideas. They won three scrums against the head and would have reduced the deficit had a penalty attempt not drifted wide in the wind. Crusaders then came close to scoring when Rob Craig was held up a metre short of the line.
The visitors spurned their best opportunity when they failed to control the ball at the back of a five metre scrum under the London Welsh post. Crusaders’ disappointment at the end of a scoreless second half was justified as their sterling effort had gone unrewarded as London Welsh moved into the semi-finals.