Injury-hit Welwyn hammered by Civil Service

PUBLISHED: 12:24 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:15 26 October 2009

London 2 North Civil Service 67 Welwyn 6 WELWYN were outclassed and out-powered on Saturday as they were thrashed 67-6 by Civil Service. This is Welwyn s worst season for many years and a lengthening injury list adds to the problems for coach Andy Riley

London 2 North

Civil Service 67 Welwyn 6

WELWYN were outclassed and out-powered on Saturday as they were thrashed 67-6 by Civil Service.

This is Welwyn's worst season for many years and a lengthening injury list adds to the problems for coach Andy Riley and his squad.

Regular props Grant Keeler and Richard Stokes are the latest additions, so second team captain Martin Cannon was promoted and William Freeston moved from second row to loose-head prop.

Captain Owen Hopley returned after missing the previous game with flu.

Andy Smith, Barry Crowe and Scott Clewlow made up one of the youngest back threes the club has ever selected.

On a sunny day, the visitors were soon camped in their own half and concentrating on defence.

Civil Service won a lineout and drove the ball before releasing it to their backs, who moved it quickly across field where their left-wing was tackled into touch just short of the try-line.

From the lineout, a scrum was called and Civil Service moved the ball rapidly infield where one of their strong-running centres burst through weak tackling to score under the posts.

A few minutes later another try was scored when Welwyn lost possession 30 metres out and were unable to bring down the opposing ball carriers who moved the ball quickly and accurately.

The Hobbs Way club, 12 points down in 15 minutes, were trying to get back into the game.

Captain Hopley in the lineout and Mark Harries in loose play were receiving possession and Freeston made one powerful run.

The hosts were penalised 30 metres out and Gareth Hughes kicked the points.

Briefly there was hope for Welwyn but it was short-lived.

They could not sustain this pressure and keep play in their opponents' half as their errors handed possession over.

Civil Service then used the strong breeze to kick the ball deep into Welwyn territory and put themselves on the offensive.

From this favourable field position they were able to use a steady stream of clean, fast possession effectively.

Three more tries came in rapid succession before half-time, with just another Hughes penalty in reply.

The second half began with Welwyn having the advantage of a strong breeze but the disadvantage of a 31-6 deficit.

This soon became 36-6 after poorly directed kicking and weak tackling resulted in another try.

Again the visitors rallied, taking play into the Civil Service's 22 where they were camped for a series of rucks and mauls.

Frustratingly, nothing came of this with Welwyn lacking that essential edge of physicality in broken play which can move possession forward that crucial extra few yards.

The home side regained the ball, moved play upfield through their forwards and then handed over, in familiar fashion, to their backs who finished off the move with a try to make it 43-6.

Tom Jankowski, returning from injury, replaced Rob James, Steve Gardiner and Craig Gunnell came on for Rob Picken and Barry Crowe as Andy Riley sought to give all his squad game time.

With just over 10 minutes to go, Welwyn's aim was to keep the score to a respectable level but a rampant Civil Service denied them this modest ambition.

Sensing the defensive frailties of a young and inexperienced team, they ran the ball at every opportunity.

Some of the handling was better suited for the basketball court but it was effective.

Backs and forwards combined to score four tries in the last 10 minutes with the Welwyn cause not being helped by poor tackling.

This heavy defeat completes the first half of the season.

There is no fixture on Saturday, and this provides time to reflect on the difficulties faced by an injury-ravaged squad.

The return fixture, away to Ruislip on Saturday, December 20, starts the second half of the league programme.


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