Derby clash next as Welwyn and Datchworth both draw a blank on opening day

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 September 2017

Datchworth RFC V Verulamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Datchworth RFC V Verulamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON

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Rugby union returned on Saturday although neither Welwyn or Datchworth could start the London North West Three season with victories.

Welwyn Rugby Club's firsts management team. L-R: William Freeston, captain; Gareth Hughes, coach; James Coles, coach; Ian Ewin, coach; Adam Harcourt, vice-captain.Welwyn Rugby Club's firsts management team. L-R: William Freeston, captain; Gareth Hughes, coach; James Coles, coach; Ian Ewin, coach; Adam Harcourt, vice-captain.

Welwyn lost 27-20 at Old Merchant Taylors’ while Datchworth went down 33-5 at home to newly-promoted Verulamians.

But while the results will have been a disappointment, there was plenty of positives coming out of Welwyn’s performance.

They looked set for victory with 20 minutes to go, leading 20-5, but OMT fielded a strong set of backs, including several 7s specialists.

And it was the knowhow and fitness which saw the hosts to the win, with Fijian right-wing Kandola in particular testing Welwyn’s defence throughout.

OMT had opened the scoring early on but from then on Welwyn’s scrum improved and they managed to get a foothold in the match.

And after 15 minutes a strong run by Dave Wells created a good opportunity which fly-half Callum Tormey took to score out wide.

Grehan converted a penalty on the half-hour to put them in front and although two other penalty opportunities were missed, Welwyn took a 15-5 lead right on the stroke of half-time.

A solid scrum allowed Harry Gillespie to make a clean break and Wells was on hand to score close to the posts, giving Grehan the easy conversion.

The visitors started the second half strongly as well and Wells added a second try eight minutes in.

But in the last quarter of the game, OMT suddenly found their rhythm and Welwyn were faced with wave after wave of running back play.

One such move brought a try under the posts and five minutes later, a mismatch out wide allowed Kandola to score in the corner.

He repeated the trick only a minute later after a fabulous length of the field move involving excellent support play and one-handed offloads in true 7s style.

A fifth try ended the scoring and meant Welwyn had to be content with a losing bonus point for their efforts.

Tom Bennett scored a fabulous try for Datchworth but with a much-changed side from last year, it is going to take time for them to gel.

Their first chance to do so comes on Saturday when they travel to Welwyn .

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