Perfect start in league for Welwyn as new boys star in impressive Hampstead win

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 September 2018

Dan Atkinson got the last try for Welwyn against Hampstead. Picture: Danny Loo

Dan Atkinson got the last try for Welwyn against Hampstead. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

Welwyn’s return to London North West Two got off to the perfect start with a 33-27 win at home to Hampstead.

The Hobbs Way-based rugby club knew it was going to be a tough day at the office against the north London side who just missed out on promotion to the higher level after a defeat in the play-offs last year.

But with five debutants in the squad, Welwyn showed the strength of their work in pre-season to battle their way to the victory.

That said it was the visitors who were first on the scoreboard when they punched through the Welwyn defence and shipped the ball out to the corner.

That was on eight minutes and it was 12 minutes later when the hosts had a chance to get their first score of the afternoon.

And any quizzical looks when skipper Will Freeston opted to pass up a straight-forward penalty attempt in front of the posts for a kick to the corner soon passed with the first try of the day for Welwyn.

Quick ball was secured and new scrum-half Ben Skinner moved the ball left where a lovely deft grubber kick ahead by another new player, centre Vetaia Kewea, gave speedy winger Dave Fennell the opportunity to touch down unopposed.

An excellent conversion from the touchline by Chris Kemp, who only missed one kick all afternoon, saw Welwyn go 7-5 ahead.

That lead was extended to 12-5 just before half-time with a second try, a charge down falling kindly for Anton Denton to touch down in the corner

Hampstead got back on level terms seven minutes after the break with another burst from the winger but a further five minutes after that, a good series of pick-and-drives close to the line by the forwards saw man-of-the-match Denton grab his second and Kemp again convert.

Still Welwyn pressed and a perfect throw by debutant hooker James Tan found fellow new boy Conor Boland at the rear of the line-out and from the resulting maul, Josh Milton charged through a gap to put Welwyn further ahead.

There was still plenty to do and despite a couple of Hampstead tries Phil Grehan danced his way through a tiny gap before unleashing Dan Atkinson who galloped over from 10 metres.

A final penalty by Hampstead allowed them to leave with two bonus points, but the win and a very valuable five points belonged to Welwyn on an excellent first outing.

Welwyn now travel to Letchworth for the battle of the Garden Cities on Saturday.

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