Welwyn travelled to Grasshoppers in confident mood on Saturday, despite missing several key players, including Adam Harcourt, Aaron Chandler, David Wells and skipper William Freeston. Although they scored two late tries, Welwyn came up just short in a highly entertaining match featuring ten tries.
Welwyn started strongly with the wind and slight slope in their favour, but it was the home side that opened the scoring after 10 minutes in their first visit to the Welwyn 22. A penalty from Rory Harcourt five minutes later reduced the gap to 5-3. Five minutes later, Welwyn took the lead. A strong scrum gave No 9 Yourgos Alexander the platform to make a sniping run and release centre Phil Grehan who raced over from 30 metres. Grasshoppers responded five minutes later when their right wing scored again out wide and an excellent conversion saw the home side ahead at 12-8. Soon afterwards, Grasshoppers were guilty of not finding touch from a kick out of defence and Tom Turner took full advantage running back strongly before passing to full back Harry Gillespie who jinked his way to the try line. Rory Harcourt converted and Welwyn led 12-15 at the break.
With Grasshoppers enjoying the benefit of the wind in the second half, the Welwyn travelling faithful were wondering if the slender lead would be enough. Their fears were justified as the home side scored three further tries at regular intervals and Welwyn looked dead and buried trailing 34-15 with only 10 minutes left to play. It is to the great credit of this young side that Welwyn refused to capitulate. Rory Harcourt took a quick tapped penalty to score close to the posts and he quickly added the conversion. Only a minute later, Grehan scored the individual try of the game with a brilliant solo run from half way and Harcourt’s conversion narrowed the gap to five points at 34-29. Unfortunately, Welwyn did not deal with the restart very well and Grasshoppers took full advantage with a try from their outstanding No 6 to kill off any remaining hopes that Welwyn had of completing a remarkable comeback.
Welwyn secured a four try bonus point from the match to remain in second place in the league, but this was scant reward for their efforts. Welwyn have a break next weekend before resuming their league campaign at home against Stevenage Town on 21st October.
Updated 11:50 - 9 Oct 2017 by Mark Elliott