Defeat leaves Welwyn in relegation dogfight

PUBLISHED: 17:19 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 07 March 2017

Welwyn RFC V Harpenden

Welwyn RFC V Harpenden

Archant

Welwyn remain in the London Two North West bottom two after a 38-18 home defeat to Harpenden.

Fifth place Harpenden ultimately proved too strong for the home side and ran out comfortable winners.

The visitors took their chances well with the powerful young right winger Max Baggio helping himself to four tries.

Welwyn missed too many one-on- one tackles and Harpenden were ruthless in taking advantage.

The hosts started brightly putting several phases of play together, but Harpenden took their first chance well and Baggio scored his first after three minutes. The try was unconverted.

Five minutes later, Harpenden again moved the ball to the right and Baggio scored again in a carbon copy of his first for 10-0.

Welwyn responded well with a well worked try of their own.

The ball was moved right and skipper Phil Grehan ghosted through a gap to put winger Aaron Chandler into the corner for an unconverted try.

Welwyn dominated the next 10 minutes, but were unable to turn pressure into points despite full-back Chris Kemp coming close on a couple of occasions.

Harpenden increased their lead with a converted try by their strong running centre Tom Stagg and Welwyn trailed 17-5.

From kick-off, Harpenden were penalised in front of their own posts and Kemp made no mistake with the penalty to narrow the gap to 17-8.

Harpenden were quick to respond with their bonus point fourth try from broken play and the conversion was successful to increase their lead to 24-8.

Skipper Grehan was then forced to leave the field with an eye injury and was replaced by Harry Di Lieto.

Straight after half-time, Baggio scored his third try and the conversion extended Harpenden’s lead to 31-8 and killed off any hopes Welwyn had of snatching victory.

Kemp injured his ribs trying to prevent the try and was replaced by Henry Fee with flanker Carl Lewis moving into the backs, where he did not look out of place.

Prop Michael Hopkins then replaced Cameron Patey, but soon incurred the wrath of the referee and was sin binned for side entry at a ruck. The game remained scoreless for a 20-minute period before Harpenden extended their lead with Baggio’s fourth try. The conversion was successful and Harpenden led 38-8.

To Welwyn’s credit, they never gave up and finished the game strongly with two late tries.

The first was scored in the corner by Liam Schofield and, with one eye on the clock and searching for a four try bonus point, the drop kick conversion attempt by Rory Harcourt was unsuccessful. Minutes later, Ollie Di Lieto chased a grubber kick to score out wide and the conversion was again unsuccessful.

Welwyn travel to Harrow on Saturday and need at least two more wins to stay up.


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