Scorching first-half melts Hackney and keeps Welwyn hot on heels of Belsize Park

PUBLISHED: 16:30 30 October 2018

Vitaia Kawea touches down in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

Vitaia Kawea touches down in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Welwyn kept pace with leaders Belsize Park at the top of London Two North West after a thumping 43-21 win over Hackney.

Dave Fennell goes through to score in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOODave Fennell goes through to score in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

It keeps them locked on 27 points with the north London side, although having played one game more, and it was a win that delighted the home faithful on a bitterly cold day at Hobbs Way.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to warm them up as they blazed to a 31-7 half-time lead full of outstanding attacking rugby.

The first try arrived on 10 minutes as Dave Fennel scorched onto the end of a Phil Grehan cross-field kick, beating two men and scoring under the posts.

Chris Kemp kicked the extras but Hackney were level by the end of the first quarter after a fine line-out move.

Dave Fennell goes through to score in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOODave Fennell goes through to score in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

But for the remainder of the half it was one-way traffic.

The fleet-footed Fennel went over for his second, after fine work from Grehan to turn the ball over, and straight from the restart Harry Gillespie lit the rockets and raced round two defenders to add try number three, Kemp kicking the extras again.

The bonus-point score followed with a superb exhibition of running rugby, Vitaia Kawea and Conor Boland setting up Fennel for his hat-trick and a fifth try arrived before the half was out, this time a textbook example of plying to the referee’s whistle.

It looked clear to most that Aaron Chandler had knocked the ball on but with the man in the middle waving play on, he raced off before drawing the last man and sending Kawea over.

Chris Kemp kicks a conversion in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOOChris Kemp kicks a conversion in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

Kemp’s conversion finished a breathtaking half.

Any thoughts Welwyn might slow down after the break were soon dispelled as Dave Wells got the final touch as a five-metre scrum rumbled over the line.

Chandler went close, just being bundled into touch as he was about to score, and a forward pass stopped a Daniel Comben charge.

Welwyn did add a seventh, Ollie Di-Lieto getting it with another pushover try, but only after ill discipline from the hosts had gifted Hackney two tries.

Welwyn RFC celebrate Harry Gillespie's try in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn RFC celebrate Harry Gillespie's try in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

And in this form they will be confident of adding win number six when they go to Enfield Ignatians on Saturday.

The seconds made it a double celebration as they beat Bishop’s Stortford Mitres 28-19 in Merit Table One.

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