Welwyn v Datchworth - Match Report
Welwyn recover from a slow start to record their opening win of this league campaign
Welwyn 30 – 20 Datchworth
In an extremely eventful match, Welwyn eventually secured a valuable win against local rivals Datchworth to get their league campaign up and running. As last week, Welwyn’s set piece, and in particular the scrum, struggled in the early part of the match allowing Datchworth to dominate the early exchanges. Welwyn’s only score in the first half hour was a long range penalty from Rory Harcourt whilst Datchworth helped themselves to three unconverted tries from Tom Blackwell and two from the outstanding Stuart Young. After half an hour Welwyn’s coaching team had no alternative other than to make changes up front, bringing on William Freeston and Rob Picken to bolster the pack. This allowed Welwyn to be more competitive at scrum time, although their lineout still struggled at times.
Soon after these changes were made, Welwyn scored their opening try with a free flowing move from within their own half involving Tom Turner and Aaron Chandler. Rory Harcourt was on the end of this to touch down and reduce the gap to 8-15. Only a minute later, Datchworth lost control of the ball in Welwyn’s 22 and Adam Harcourt grabbed the loose ball and sprinted fully 80m along the touchline to score close to the posts. Brother Rory converted to tie the scores at 15-15. Just before half time, Welwyn scored again. Scrum half Yourgos Alexander took a quick tap from a penalty and scored under the posts. Rory Harcourt again converted and, despite struggling to compete in the first half hour, Welwyn remarkably turned round with a 22-15 lead at half time.
Compared with the frenetic activity of the first half, the second half was less eventful. Welwyn increased their lead after 15 minutes when Datchworth lost control of the ball 40m from their line and the ever alert Josh Milton broke through the first tackle and sprinted to the line to increase Welwyn’s lead to 27-15 and give the home team a try bonus point. Welwyn made several changes during the half, bringing back on Dan Atkinson and Chris Sloan for Freeston and Dan Webb, although Freeston was soon to return to the fray replacing Ben Solez. Unfortunately Freeston’s return did not last long as he was sin binned for a high tackle. With Welwyn having exhausted their supply of front row forwards, scrums became uncontested for the remainder of the match and, under the laws of uncontested scrums, Welwyn were reduced to 13 men. Datchworth took advantage of their numerical superiority when a clever cross kick was brilliantly caught by their left winger, who scored in the corner to earn Datchworth a four try bonus point and narrow the4 gap to only 7 points at 27-20. With time virtually up, Welwyn were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but fully 45m out. Acting skipper Adam Harcourt asked brother Rory to kick at goal and a beautifully struck penalty completed Welwyn’s scoring and denied Datchworth a losing bonus point. Welwyn’s Man of the Match was Yourgos Alexander.
Welwyn will need to work on their set piece in the week, before travelling to St Albans on Saturday for another local derby.