St Albans 38-64 Welwyn
Thrilling win for 1st XV away at St Albans
Welwyn travelled to St Albans in an optimistic mood with their pack reinforced by the return of heavyweight forwards Will Freeston and Rob Picken. A beautiful playing surface promised much and Welwyn did not disappoint, scoring ten tries, including eight by the wingers as Adam Harcourt ran in five tries and Aaron Chandler contributed three. Rory Harcourt added seven conversions.
Welwyn got off to a fast start and after an attack comprising several phases, Adam Harcourt touched down close to the posts with brother Rory adding the extras. Two minutes later, St Albans were level. Scrum half Will Alcott took a quick tap penalty and with Welwyn retreating he ran unopposed to score under the posts. After ten minutes, St Albans forward Fraser Morris was sin binned for an offside offence and Welwyn took full advantage by running in four tries in the ten minutes that the home team were reduced to 14 men, with No 8 Dave Wells scoring the bonus point try after only 18 minutes of the match. Welwyn added two more tries before half time including one for centre Brad Lack making only his second first team appearance. St Albans reduced the deficit with two tries of their own and after a frenetic first half, the teams turned around with Welwyn leading 45-19.
Whatever was said at half time by the St Albans coaches clearly worked, as they chipped away at the Welwyn lead with strong forward play led by veterans John Sayers and Marcus Shaw. With twenty minutes left to play the home side were dominant in the set pieces and were only 12 points adrift at 38-50. Welwyn emptied their bench bringing on Henry Fee, Ben Osgood and Chris Sloan but were reduced to 14 men when Dan Webb was adjudged to have been the aggressor in a minor disagreement between the teams. A worrying 15 minute spell for the travelling Welwyn faithful was brought to an end when the visitors scored two late tries to run out comfortable winners and move up to second in the table.
There is still much for the Welwyn coaches to work on, particularly in the set pieces, but this was an excellent display by the team and some of the running rugby and support play were quite breath-taking. Welwyn now entertain Old Streetonians at home on Saturday, which on this form should be well worth watching.