- Seb Jewell holds back on try celebration
- Former Esher centre enjoying new life at Old Deer Park
Photo: RFU Archive
Any player’s first try for their new club should be a moment to savour and celebrate, but if that moment comes against the club you spent three happy years with, then there is a decision to be made.
That is the scenario that faced London Welsh centre Seb Jewell last Friday evening at Esher when Gordon Ross’ penalty attempt came back off the upright and it bounced perfectly for Jewell to follow-up and touch down.
“I did my best not to celebrate,” said Jewell. “Obviously [the try] meant a lot to be me, but I didn’t feel it was the right time to make a big deal about it as I at Esher for so long. I know the boys so well and they are obviously going through a tough time.
“You chase penalty kicks and 99 times out of a 100 they don’t come anywhere near you, but when the ball was about five metres from the post I thought ‘hang on, this might hit the post’ so I started running a bit faster, and it couldn’t have bounced any higher or more towards me if I wanted it to.”
Jewell admits to some trepidation before his return to Esher – the club he helped to Championship promotion in 2009/10 – where he spent three seasons on loan from Harlequins and Wasps, but he need not have feared.
“I got a good reception from the all the boys and the board members – it wasn’t as much of a hostile reception as I thought it was going to be!” he added.
Jewell’s second try in the Exiles’ 37-3 win at Molesey Road secured the four-try bonus-point and leaves Welsh in second place in the table, just one point behind Championship leaders Cornish Pirates.
“I couldn’t stop celebrating the second one, it was just one of those moves you call and the little chip over the top from Alex [Davies] was perfect. I couldn’t hold my emotions back on that one,” he said.
The boys are training really hard – Jewell
Friday’s night derby clash at Esher was Jewell’s first start since the Exiles’ pre-season win away to Gloucester, during which he picked up an injury. Since then, he has had to bide his time for an opportunity beacuse of Welsh's strength in depth in the centres.
“It’s a testament to the squad we’ve got this season that we’re able to swap the boys in and out and keep a consistent performance,” he said.
“Simon [Whatling] did a great job when he was in there. Paul [Mackey] is a great player as well and then there’s Hudson [Tonga’uiha] and James [Lewis]. It’s not a bad problem for Lyn [Jones – head coach] to have.
“Everywhere is strong; I don’t think there’s one position where anyone has it tied down. The boys are training really hard and everyone is pushing for places, but the good thing is that if you are dropped everyone is still trying to push each other still and help everyone perform as best they can at the weekend.”
Given his chance against Esher, Jewell certainly took it with both hands, having come off the bench against Nottingham and kicked three conversions against London Scottish in the British & Irish Cup. All in all, the former Quin and Wasp is enjoying his start to life at Old Deer Park.
“So far I’ve really enjoyed it - it’s a good bunch of boys. There’s a nice balance between old and young, and boys in my position who’ve come from Premiership clubs looking to prove a point and get this club up into the Premiership,” said Jewell, who joined Harlequins straight after school.
“Being under Dean Richards was a great experience, as was being at Wasps last year with Sean Edwards. Two completely different styles of play but my game wouldn’t be what it is now if I hadn’t been subjected to those two contrasting styles.
Victory over Esher made it four wins from five for the Exiles and they’ll look to extend that run when they travel to Moseley on Saturday, but, from his time at Esher, Jewell knows only too well what a difficult place Billesley Common can be to get a result.
“It’s not an easy place to get four points, let alone five, but hopefully we can come back with another win and four more points,” he said.