Welwyn 1st XV 45-22 Fullerians 2s
It was a busy afternoon at Hobbs Way on Saturday with three warm-up matches taking place. The 1st XV took on Fullerians 2s, the 2nd XV played Weston and the Vets XV played OAs.
Welwyn’s 1st XV put on a performance full of promise for the new season, showing the benefit of eight good weeks of training run by coaches James Coles, Gareth Hughes and Ian Ewin. The team looked fitter that at any stage last season and this was probably reflected in the total absence of any injuries sustained during the match.
Vice-Captain, Adam Harcourt skippered the side in the absence of Will Freeston, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury from last April and who was also on paternity duty following the arrival of daughter Freya on Friday. The afternoon was still and warm and was made for running rugby which undoubtedly suited the way that Welwyn like to play the game.
Welwyn were first on the scoreboard when they moved the ball swiftly to the right to allow winger Tom Turner to score in the corner. Two minutes later, an opportunistic try by Rory Harcourt doubled Welwyn’s lead to 10-0. A water break was taken after 20 minutes of the half and suitably refreshed, Fullerians scored straight afterwards to halve the gap to 10-5. This stirred Welwyn into action and a well-taken try by Josh Milton was converted by Ben Osgood to take the score to 17-5 and keep the new electronic scoreboard ticking over nicely. Straight from the kick-off, Milton was at it again. Fielding the ball from the re-start, he shrugged off a couple of tackles before turning on the pace to get away from any remaining defenders and score under the posts. It was an outstanding individual effort from fully 70 metres by the young flanker who has only just turned 18. Osgood again converted.
On the half hour Fullerians scored in the corner to narrow the gap to 24-10, but skipper Adam Harcourt soon restored Welwyn’s advantage with a try converted by Osgood to take the half time score to 31-10. Fullerians enjoyed much the better of the third quarter of the game as Welwyn ringed the changes bringing on Yourgos Alexander, Henry Fee and Joe Burns fresh from the 2nd XV game which had finished earlier. The visitors scored twice in this period, converting one, to narrow the gap to 31-22 and prop, Mike Hopkins, then disagreed too loudly with a refereeing decision and spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for his trouble. Welwyn were not yet done for the day, however. Rory Harcourt made a good break from a tapped 22 drop-out and fed the ever-present Milton. Milton made good ground and was tap tackled with 30 metres to go. He still managed to retain his balance to feed Osgood who scored close to the posts and then converted his own try. Further pressure from Welwyn resulted in a try for Yourgos Alexander, making a welcome return after a year out of the game. Osgood added the extras and a very entertaining game finished at 45-22.
Man of the Match was prop, Dan Comben. This was a promising start for Welwyn and competition for places will be keen with the return of a number of senior players, including Freeston, Grehan, Atkinson, Hunter, Maxwell, Webb and Lewis. Welwyn will be looking to take this form into their first league game on Saturday away at OMTs.