Senior Vase exit for Welwyn but two sides delight soggy crowd with entertaining fare

PUBLISHED: 11:14 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 20 November 2017

Rob Picken scored one of Welwyn's two tries against Aylesford Bulls. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Rob Picken scored one of Welwyn's two tries against Aylesford Bulls. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Archant

Welwyn bowed out of the RFU Senior Vase with a 17-12 defeat at Aylesford Bulls – but both sides put on a brilliant show of attacking rugby for those that braved the Kent drizzle.

The Bulls are top of the London South East Three table, with seven wins from their nine games and just the one defeat.

But that is a pretty similar record to Welwyn’s in London North West Three, the same level as their hosts, and the expected tight battle on paper was replicated on the pitch.

Neither side gave an inch and neither turned down the opportunity to attack.

Both scored two tries with Aylesford’s superior kicking off the tee the difference.

Welwyn travelled without a number of regular first-team players but the fact their replacements came in and didn’t look out of place, is a sure sign that Welwyn’s strength in depth is now greatly improved.

The attacking intent was clear from the start with the first scrum not arriving until fully 20 minutes into the half.

Aylesford had opened the scoring five minutes before that with a well-struck penalty before Welwyn responded with a quick tap penalty 10 minutes later that caught the home defence on the hop.

A couple of phases later and Rob Picken touched down, with Rory Harcourt landing a fine conversion.

Harry Gillespie was given a yellow card in a possible case of mistaken identity and the Bulls took advantage, driving over the line after a series of scrums, for a 10-7 half-time lead.

The weather got worse in the second half, but it didn’t dampen the quality of rugby with Welwyn retaking the lead on 58 minutes.

They managed to keep possession for around 10 phases before moving the ball quickly to the left where Brad Lack ran through a gap to score.

Unfortunately Harcourt’s conversion attempt came back off the post.

And with 10 minutes remaining Aylesford scored the decisive try with their replacement centre racing through to score.

And despite a determined final effort by Welwyn, they were unable to breach the home team’s line but still left Kent with their heads held high.

Welwyn are back in league action on Saturday with a potentially tricky away trip to Hitchin.

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