Gallery: Full Report - Welwyn grab only second win of season - against Westcliff again!
PUBLISHED: 09:21 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:14 26 October 2009
London 2 North Welwyn 15 Westcliff 13 WELWYN defeated Westcliff 15-13 on Saturday to ensure a home and away double against their Essex rivals. It was the Hobbs Way side's second league win of the season, adding to the 19-12 success away at the same side
London 2 North
Welwyn 15 Westcliff 13
WELWYN defeated Westcliff 15-13 on Saturday to ensure a home and away double against their Essex rivals.
It was the Hobbs Way side's second league win of the season, adding to the 19-12 success away at the same side in October.
The match got off to a sombre start with a minute's silence in memory of club member Dan Ginty, who died in a car accident in Wales the previous week.
Westcliff made a lively start, looking to avenge their defeat earlier in the season.
With about 10 minutes of the match gone, Westcliff's pressure told and they scored an unconverted try to give them a five point lead.
The home side adjusted to the pace of the game and started to make inroads into the Westcliff half, performing well in the set- pieces and competing fiercely for any loose ball.
Wayne Child was unlucky to be yellow carded 20 minutes into the game for not rolling away from the tackle.
Westcliff made the most of their one-man advantage and were successful with a third penalty kick to give them an 8-0 lead.
However, the hosts managed to rebuff any further attacks on their line with some determined tackling and as Child returned to the field of play, the Westcliff winger was yellow carded for tripping a Welwyn player.
The pack performed well with the impressive front five of Grant Keeler, Simon Banks, Richard Stokes, Austen Cox and Will Freeston giving a firm platform for the explosive back row trio of Rob Picken, Owen Hopley and Dave Orton to work off.
Welwyn opted for a lineout from a penalty and a chip kick across field by Gareth Hughes was gathered well by Child to score an unconverted try to bring up the half-time score of 8-5 to the visitors.
With the elements now in their favour, the home side upped the tempo of the game.
Another good scrum saw the ball passed through the backs' hands and some lovely interpassing resulted in Scott Clewlow diving over for a well-deserved try.
Hughes missed the conversion but Welwyn now had a 10-8 lead.
Dean Storah replaced Clewlow and was soon involved in the action when he was part of an excellent move which started with a searing break by Kyle Birkin.
He passed to Storah, who in turn released Kris Birkin, who was unfortunately bundled into touch short of the line.
A mistake by Welwyn in the midfield gave Westcliff the opportunity for a counter-attack which they gratefully took and made the most of by scoring another unconverted try to give them the lead again at 13-10.
The hosts made two more changes with Rory Page and Richard Rapley coming on.
Welwyn camped down in the Westcliff 22 and twice surged over the try-line, only for the referee to deem that the ball had been held up.
With the clock ticking away, it looked as though Westcliff would hold on to their lead.
But in the last seconds of the game the hosts won a lineout five metres from the Westcliff line and Gareth Hughes twizzled his way over for an unconverted try to give Welwyn their deserved 15-13 victory.
This was an encouraging performance by Welwyn, who have played some good rugby since their disastrous loss to Ruislip just before Christmas.
Strengthened by Picken and Kris Birkin and with a welcome return to rugby by both Kyle Birkin and former captain Orton, Welwyn have started to show that they can compete at this level and there is no reason why they cannot win more of their remaining games this season.