ALEX Davies scored a last-minute penalty from just inside the hosts’ half as London Welsh recorded a thrilling victory over Cavalieri.
But what could – and should – have been a comfortable win in Welsh’s first-ever away European Cup game, turned into a real battle as the Exiles produced mistake after mistake.
Lyn Jones’s side led 18-3 before half-time and 29-17 with ten minutes left, but a late surge from the hosts so nearly won them the game.
Cavalieri started brightly and penned the visitors back in their own half, but it was Welsh who drew first blood.
After winning a scrum, the ball was played wide for Dan George to score, Gordon Ross adding the conversion.
Riccardo Della Rossa replied with a penalty, but Ross restored the seven-point advantage with a kick of his own.
Welsh went clear after the hosts knocked on in front of their own posts, and when Ross received the ball from the ensuing scrum, he fed Joe Ajuwa who dived over.
A Ross penalty made it 18-3 and Welsh were in complete control.
However, Denis Majstorovic exploited an opening to cross near the posts, Della Rossa’s conversion reducing the deficit before half-time.
Ajuwa touched down again shortly after the restart, and at 23-10, Welsh were looking nailed-on for victory.
Billy Ngawini’s try and Pino Patelli’s conversion again cut the lead, but penalties from Ross and Davies made it 29-17.
However, when Marco Fratti converted two tries in five minutes from Niccolò Tempestini and Giacomo Bernini, Cavalieri were ahead.
But when the hosts enfringed in the final minute, the cool head of Davies won it in dramatic fashion.
SATURDAY’S LINE-UPS Cavalieri Prato: Berryman, Vezzosi, Majstorovic, McCann, Sepe (Tempestini 63), Della Rossa (Ngawini HT), Patelli (Frati 61), Borsi (Cannone HT), Giovanchelli (Balboni 70), Roan (Garfagnoli 55), Cavalieri (Boscolo 65), Bernini, Saccardo, Petillo (Ruffolo 65), Pelizzari. London Welsh: Davies, Ajuwa, Jewell, Whatling (Scott 60 (Whatling 70)), Smith, Ross, Runciman, Bristow (Briggs 65), George (Moss 65), Bateman (Ion 72), Kulemin (Brown 58), Purdy, Williamson (Beach 39), Hills, To’oala.