Time caught up with Welwyn as they just missed out on victory at Cheshunt despite a much-improved performance

The Hobbs Way rugby club fell to a 25-20 defeat in Counties One Herts Middlesex meaning they did at least get a losing bonus point for their efforts this week.  

The game had started well with returning fly-half Brendon Marume picking up the ball on the halfway line and exploiting a gap in Cheshunt’s defence. 

He then avoided two other players to touch down and give Welwyn a 5-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

The hosts reacted well and a penalty given for offside allowed them to put three points on the board.

It didn't stop there either and although Welwyn put up some strong defence, Cheshunt managed to outflank them scoring in the corner.

A difficult wind led to a missed conversion but Cheshunt still had the lead.

Welwyn finished the half on top though.

Much of the game was being played in the middle third of the pitch but from a visiting line-out, a smart piece of interplay enabled Dave Wells to break Cheshunt’s defensive line and run in for Welwyn’s second try and a 10-8 lead.

The second half became a war of attrition with discipline playing a crucial role.

Welwyn were the first to lose a player for 10 minutes early into the period, a high tackle bringing the first yellow, and Cheshunt quickly took advantage with another try in the corner.

Back came Welwyn and this time a high tackle from the hosts made it 14 each in personnel, with Chris Kemp slotting the resulting penalty to level the scores at 13-13.

Cheshunt bagged their third try though to retake the lead and a catalogue of Welwyn errors enabled Cheshunt to score again, not only giving them a bonus-point try but a two-score gap for the first time in the game.

It was at this point that Welwyn’s character showed through and they pushed for scores in the last quarter. 

A high ball saw Cheshunt take a man out in the air and the referee had no hesitation in issuing a red card.

It lead to a brief two-man advantage which became a longer spell as pressure on the line led to further infringements from Cheshunt and another sin-bin.

With only a few minutes to go Welwyn continued to press for a score and perhaps should have made better use of their backs before they finally broke through, Marume finding a gap to score his second.

Kemp converted and with Cheshunt down to 13 for the last play, Welwyn received the re start and broke down the wing.

Superb defensive cover from the home defence resulted in a knock on and the final whistle robbed Welwyn of the chance to win.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: James Bolter of Hitchin tries to go round Maxwell Imina of Datchworth. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINSJames Bolter of Hitchin tries to go round Maxwell Imina of Datchworth. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINS (Image: Martin Wiggins)

Datchworth meanwhile played out a close game away to Hitchin, eventually losing 30-25.

A frantic first half had seen the Men in Green lead 20-18 thanks to three tries, a conversion and a penalty.

Logan Armstrong got Datch's fourth try, and one of the two bonus points they would accrue, but despite ending the game a man to the good, Datchworth couldn't find a crucial score.

The Men in Green are now sixth in the table and while Welwyn are four places behind them.

Welwyn will host Hampstead on Saturday while Datchworth are at home to London Scottish Lions.