‘Relief not to lose’ as Welwyn end run of defeats with late draw in Garden City Derby

PUBLISHED: 14:33 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 20 December 2018

Welwyn prepare for a line-out in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

Welwyn prepare for a line-out in the match between Welwyn RFC and Hackney. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

They could have snatched a win at the death but in the end Welwyn skipper Will Freeston was just happy to have emerged out of a difficult game at home with Letchworth with a 7-7 draw.

Welwyn went into the match at their Hobbs Way base on the back of three defeats, a sequence that has just dulled an excellent season so far for the newly-promoted rugby club.

But with Letchworth having snatched the lead just 16 minutes from time, Freeston wasn’t overly concerned that Chris Kemp’s penalty with the last kick drifted agonisingly wide of the uprights.

The skipper said: “If we scored the first try, I don’t think they wouldn’t have come back but as they scored first it was a relief to not lose.

“We’ve had a few games not go our way in the last plays like Chiswick but that’s rugby.

“We’ve come up into the league and we’ve competed very well. And we’re still fourth so it’s not too bad.

“At the start of the year we were looking to push for mid-table but as it has turned out we’re pushing for the top four.”

The Garden City derby was played in weather that couldn’t be further away from the idyll picture conjured up by Ebenezer Howard’s vision, with a biting wind, driving rain and plummeting temperatures making attacking, free-flowing rugby an unlikely prospect.

Welwyn did enjoy the lion share of possession, especially in the first half where they spent what seemed like 10 minutes banging on the Letchworth door without getting across the line.

But the longer the second half went on in the gathering gloom, the longer it appeared as if the ever-dwindling number of supporters would witness a rare no-score draw.

However, the bottom of the table visitors had other ideas and after a spell of pressure of their own, they were rewarded with a try for Josh Parkhouse, converted by Lewis Waters.

Antonio Denton, along with Kemp’s conversion, ensured Welwyn drew level with seven minutes remaining and it could have been even better had Kemp not been slightly off target from the right side of the 22.

Welwyn go to league leaders Belsize Park for their first game of 2019.

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