Charles and Camila weren’t the only ones to be put out by student demonstrations in the English capital – London Welsh Amateurs almost lost a match because of them! Coach Ian Horgan got stuck in traffic at Westminster and only delivered the team kit minutes before kick-off against table toppers HAC.
“We did a joke stretch, then ran on the pitch,” explains loosehead/skipper Stephen Roberts. “Our minds were still in the changing room in the first half and we went in 20-3 down. But we had nothing to lose and so started to run everything – and the space opened up.”
Centre Tom Hughes, 18, scored two tries as Welsh rallied exhilaratingly to win 21-20, part of a nine-match winning run that put the team in the melting pot for promotion from Herts/Middlesex One – in their very first season since leaving the Surrey merit tables.
It’s reward for an adventurous approach – ‘keep the ball until you score’ is their motto – and the fantastic camaraderie in a side that has been together for a dozen years. “We’ve been to each other’s engagements, weddings and divorces!” quips Roberts, 35.
Hughes, picked by Welsh Exiles U18s, athletic lock Duncan Jones, immovable tighthead Jonny Graham and sniping scrum-half Rhodri Mogford form the spine of a team that is grateful for the support of the London Welsh pros at their weekly training session. “There’s no ‘them and us’ culture here and players like Gordon Ross like to pop down to assist,” Roberts says.
Having relied on ‘hand-me-downs’ from the pros, London Welsh Amateurs are thrilled to win not only our December Team of the Month award but also 22 kitbags from Canterbury. Now you can take your own kit, chaps!
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