Charlie Hodgson is Saracens' hero in their 28-23 win at London Welsh
Last Updated: 07/10/12 5:57pm
Charlie Hodgson scored all Saracens' points as they held off brave London Welsh 28-23 at the Kassam Stadium.
Hodgson scored Sarries' only try, converted it, and added seven penalties but the Exiles - for whom Gavin Henson made a promising debut - once again proved they are not going to be the relegation fodder many pundits predicted in the summer.
It was a second high-scoring near miss at home for Welsh who lost 31-25 last week to Gloucester.
Henson, who missed the opening matches of the new season because of injury, kept the hosts in the game with his boot, scoring his first points for his new club just eight minutes in.
The Exiles had lost Matt Corker to a fourth-minute yellow card but Hodgson made an error - his loose pass gave Phil McIntyre the chance to pounce, and the Canada star kicked ahead and dived over under the posts, Henson banging over the extras.
Hodgson replied with a penalty, and then on 19 he took a short pass from scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth, stepped inside and raced over between the posts, adding the conversion.
The rest of the half was a kicking duel between Hodgson and Henson with Saracens turning around 19-13 up.
Two more penalties from Hodgson increased Saracens' lead to 25-13 before Henson kicked his third penalty in the 60th minute.
But Welsh never gave up and they scored a second try on 74 when left wing Nick Scott made a superb break from the halfway line before passing inside to Tom Arscott, who raced clear to touch down under the posts - 25-23.
Hodgson landed his seventh penalty four minutes from time but Saracens finished the match desperately defending their line against a series of drives by the Welsh pack, and they just held on.
The Exiles' consolation is a losing bonus point against a top-four outfit that once again confirms their right to be competing amongst the elite.