Grasshoppers spring clear at top as wayward kicks see Welwyn fall to home defeat
PUBLISHED: 07:15 31 January 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2018
Welwyn fell to their first home defeat of the season as leaders Grasshoppers took a major step forward in the London North West Three title race.
Despite outscoring their opponents three tries to two the Hobbs Way-based club went down 21-18 and now find themselves seven points adrift of their Isleworth rivals.
It was an enthralling game as was expected between the top two in the division, played at a high tempo throughout.
Welwyn scored early with the opening try as Ollie Di-Lieto broke to the blindside after a scrum and linked with scrum half Yourgos Alexander before winger Adam Harcourt took it on.
He was stopped short of the line but Ash Dobney swiftly followed up and powered over.
It went unconverted, a trait that would haunt Welwyn by the end.
Grasshoppers immediately struck back with a penalty after Welwyn were caught offside, and for the next 10 minutes both sides sought to put width on the ball with attack and counter-attack.
Eventually the visitors won another penalty and the kick sailed over from 35 metres put them in front.
However, a superb individual try by Harry Gillespie, weaving his way through the defence, gave Welwyn the half-time lead, but again the conversion was missed.
Immediately from the restart Welwyn were penalised in front of their own posts and the accurate boot of Gilmore brought Grasshoppers to within a point.
And the visitors took the lead with their first try of the game.
Annoyingly for the hosts it started with a steal at one of their own line-outs and after good forward play, the ball was passed out along the line for the score.
The conversion hit the post but Hoppers still led 14-10 until Rory Harcourt landed a penalty for Welwyn and with the next score crucial the match ebbed and flowed between the two 22m lines.
Welwyn had three shots at goal but all were off target and Grasshoppers made them pay with a try in the corner, which was duly converted.
However, Will Freeston made sure Welwyn would at least get a losing bonus point with another unconverted try.
They travel to Stevenage Town on Saturday, with the north Herts side now just one point behind.