Welwyn back into promotion contention as spirited St Albans are sunk by five tries

PUBLISHED: 16:45 10 January 2018

Josh Milton was in fine form for Welwyn against St Albans. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Josh Milton was in fine form for Welwyn against St Albans. Picture: KARYN HADDON

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Welwyn saw off a spirited St Albans’ side with five tries and a good performance in a 36-20 win.

The bonus-point success puts Welwyn second in London North West Three, a point behind leaders Grasshoppers.

St Albans were much improved from the fixture earlier in the season and gave the Welwyn supporters a few anxious moments when they got back to within nine points with just five minutes left to play.

But a second try by outstanding back-row forward Josh Milton finally secured the win.

Honours were even early on but Welwyn were first to score when a scything break by Aaron Chandler created space for Harry Di-Lieto to score with Rory Harcourt adding the conversion, the first of five successful kicks.

A well-executed lineout catch and drive saw Will Freeston crash over to extend Welwyn’s lead but St Albans responded well and dominated the latter stages.

They were eventually rewarded with a try in the corner by Will Batchelor, with a deliberate knock-on giving an easy three points for the visitors and cutting Welwyn’s lead to 12-8 at the break.

Six minutes into the second half, Welwyn scored again with Milton’s first try and an excellent touchline conversion by Harcourt took the score to 19-8.

St Albans’ prop Fraser Morris was then yellow-carded and scrums went uncontested for 10 minutes.

Full-back Harry Gillespie scored the individual try of the match on 57 minutes.

There seemed no space at all as Welwyn moved the ball right, but the elusive Gillespie stepped past four defenders to score a remarkable try and secure the bonus point. Harcourt again added the extras.

St Albans best period of the match followed, despite the loss of the impressive Oliver Fountain, and the referee eventually lost patience with the Welwyn pack after a succession of scrums on their line and awarded a penalty try to take the score to 26-15.

A Harcourt penalty gave Welwyn a bit more breathing space, but St Albans were not done yet and a try out wide reduced the score to 29-20 before Milton settled the game.

The Neem Tree man of the match was Aaron Chandler and Welwyn travel to Hackney Marshes on Saturday for a potentially tricky fixture against Old Streetonians.

# The ladies section of Welwyn are giving women the chance to try something new in 2018.

They will be running an Inner Warrior session on Thursday, January 18, part of the RFU’s national drive to get more women playing rugby.

The free session runs between 7.30pm and 9pm and is open to ladies of all abilities, fitness levels and experience.

For more information contact Charlie White on charllie.white@hotmail.co.uk or 07931 721721.

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