Welwyn Maintain their winning run
By Gareth Hughes
Welwyn travelled to the capital
Welwyn travelled to West London on a beautiful warm October day to try and continue their good start to the season against Hammersmith & Fulham, a team they had never conquered at their place.
With Dan Comben making his 50th 1st team appearance Wewlyn were hoping to start strongly after a week off
The hosts however dominated the first 20 minutes with some skilful offloading and hard running particularly from their talented three quarters line. Welwyn somehow only managed to concede one unconverted try and a solitary penalty to trail 8-0. Unfortunately, Welwyn lost Josh Milton to a head injury. 1st XV stalwart Rob Picken making his 290 appearance coming on
Welwyn decide to enforce their game plan on to proceedings, some strong carries and good tactical kicking led to a ruck under the host’s posts. Centre Vetaia showed his class by spotting a gap around the fringes and darted under the posts for a try converted by Chris Kemp playing at 9.
With their tails now up the small but loyal Welwyn supporters were treated to some fantastic play. With Phil Grehan possibly playing his finest game at 10 pulling the strings, Welwyn went through multiple phases in the hosts 22. With Welwyn, looking for that weakness the ball was spun wide to where Harry Gillespie floated a perfect pass out to Dave Fennell on the right wing to go over in the corner for an unconverted try 12-8 to the visitors.
Back came H&F in the final 5 minutes of the half-putting together multiple phases to set up a ruck on the Welwyn’s 10m metre line. The impressive 7 went blind linked with the 15 who played a 1-2 with the winger to score in the corner; the conversion was missed giving the hosts a 13-12 lead at half time.
2 minutes from the restart, H&F slotted another penalty to extend their lead, however this Welwyn team are made of stern stuff and came back strongly to score 2 scores. The first was an absolute beauty. From 1st phase play, the ball was spun to Vetaia who fed Ben Osgood coming on a perfect hard line. With the defence bearing down on him, Osgood floated a perfect left-handed pass out to winger Dave Fennell who did not have to break stride and scored his second of the game.
Dan Atkinson replaced stalwart Ben Solez at hooker adding further weight to the front row that caused all sorts of problems to the hosts
5 minutes later Welwyn’s Kemp put a kick behind the H&F back three with an aggressive chase the ball was turned over 5 metres from the line. Spotting a mismatch Phil Grehan fed skipper William Freeston who put Harry Gillespie over under the post, the conversion was good giving Welwyn their try bonus point and a 24-16 lead
Again back came H&F and scored a good converted try with 20 minutes remaining. During this spell second row, Antonio Denton was sinned binned for a deliberate knock on. In keeping with the pattern of the game Welwyn marched down to H&F’s 22 and managed to create an opening for Phil Grehan to go over under the posts for a lead of 31-20 with 15 minutes remaining.
Welwyn have worked hard on their defence this year and this was needed as H&F threw everything at the visitors but somehow the line was kept intact. With the final play of the game H&F had a 5m lineout looking to get a point or possibly two from the game. Welwyn knew the significance of this and again repelled the attack giving them a famous 31-20 victory and consolidating their position in second.
This was a high quality game played in good spirit by 2 committed and skilful sides. Welwyn showed real character to defeat a very good H&F side. They return to Hobbs Way this week to face Hackney.