Titanic defensive display from Stevenage Town at London Welsh gives hope for remainder of promotion race

PUBLISHED: 16:22 19 February 2019

Stevenage Town put in a brave and battling performance against London Welsh. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stevenage Town put in a brave and battling performance against London Welsh. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Stevenage Town know nothing but a victory will do in their next London Three North West outing against Datchworth after they lost 13-0 to London Welsh.

The result means Town are five points adrift of the villagers in the race for the second and final promotion spot with just five games to go.

But while the result at Old Deer Park may not have gone their way, the performance against the runaway league leaders will give the North Road-based rugby club a massive shot in the arm as the season reaches its climax.

Both Town and the exiles went into the game averaging over five tries per match and although the bumper crowd didn’t see the expected try fest, they were treated to a highly competitive and combative encounter between two equally determined sides.

It was the story of two rock solid defences. London Welsh deserved to take the spoils because of the huge advantage they had in terms of possession and territory, with the hosts enjoying by far and away the more of the ball.

It meant Stevenage were forced on the defensive for the vast majority of the match and it was testament to their resilience that they restricted London Welsh to one try in each half.

This was a herculean defensive display by Stevenage as they repelled wave after wave of attack from both close quarters and open play and it is impossible to single out any one individual as every player contributed to the effort.

It was no real surprise then, with what little possession they did scavenge, they didn’t look as sharp on the ball with their defensive exploits taking its toll in terms of fatigue.

That coupled with the fact that they were up against an equally well-drilled and capable defence meant Town failed to score for the first time since November 2016.

But it was only really a 10-minute spell in the second half, with the impressive Phil Pearson in the sin-bin for a ruck offence, where Welsh finally pulled clear, landing a penalty and unconverted try.

Stevenage take a break from their league exertions on Saturday when they host Hemel Hempstead in the Herts Presidents’ Tankard semi-final.

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