Powerful centre, Vetaia Kawea, bagged a hat trick as Welwyn scored eight tries to end their losing run in fine style on a blustery afternoon at Hobbs Way. Coach, Gareth Hughes, commented after the game: “The younger players who came into the side were exceptional. Tom Emery, Jack Lacey and Liam Walpole grabbed their opportunities really well and we will have some healthy selection decisions to make over the next few games as missing and injured players return.”
In front of a large crowd, the visitors were first on the scoreboard with a straightforward penalty from in front of the posts after five minutes. Playing into the wind in the first half, it took Welwyn a while to get into their stride and it was not until the 25th minute that they opened their account with a scintillating individual effort from full-back Harry Gillespie. There is always a buzz of expectation when Gillespie gets the ball in space and he did not disappoint when his chance came from fully 60m out. Having raced through a gap he then dummied to winger Dave Fennell and there was no stopping him as he sprinted through to score. Fennell converted well. Five minutes later, a pick-up by No 8, Rob Picken on Welwyn’s 22m line. Fennell carried well and from the breakdown the ball was quickly moved to the left and stand-in skipper Adam Harcourt did the rest from 50m out. Ben Osgood converted. Just before half time, Kawea beat his opposing centre and released Lacey, who sprinted in from 40m. Osgood again converted and Welwyn led 21-3 at half time.
There was more to come in the second half as Kawea delighted the home crowd with a hat trick of tries within 20 minutes. Osgood converted two of them and Welwyn were home and hosed at 40-3 with 15 minutes left to play. Hammersmith & Fulham received two yellow cards in the second half but to their credit they never stopped trying and were rewarded with an unconverted try by their dangerous fly half.
Welwyn, however, had the last word with two more tries by Lacey and the impressive Josh Milton.
Welwyn’s Man of the Match was flanker Tom Emery who was exceptional in his first league start. Welwyn travel to Hackney on Saturday hoping to build on this win and will be looking to move into the top four with five games remaining in the league season.
Updated 12:26 - 10 Feb 2019 by Rob Picken