Slideshow: Hopley's break adds to Welwyn's woes
PUBLISHED: 15:53 18 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:36 26 October 2009
London League Two North Welwyn 11 Letchworth 23 CAPTAIN Owen Hopley broke his arm as Welwyn fell to a disappointing 23-11 defeat at home to Letchworth on Saturday. Skipper Hopley is now likely to miss the rest of the season, which comes as a further blow
London League Two North
Welwyn 11 Letchworth 23
CAPTAIN Owen Hopley broke his arm as Welwyn fell to a disappointing 23-11 defeat at home to Letchworth on Saturday.
Skipper Hopley is now likely to miss the rest of the season, which comes as a further blow to his side's survival hopes.
The Hobbs Way club probably need two more victories from their remaining five fixtures to ensure they remain in London Two North next term.
The weekend's Garden City derby was one they had hoped to win.
Welwyn started with the slope advantage, but were six points down after 14 minutes following two Letchworth penalties.
The hosts then started to play with more fire and a series of drives resulted in a penalty to the home side, taking play up to the visitors' 22 on the left.
Letchworth eventually cleared the ball up to halfway, but Welwyn brought the ball forward again.
The visitors were penalised on the 10 metre line, allowing full back Jon Child to put the ball into touch on the 22.
From the lineout, the ball was moved to the right and then cross-kicked back to the left, catching Letchworth offside in front of their posts.
Outside half Gareth Hughes slotted over the kick to reduce the arrears to 6-3.
Letchworth edged further in front soon after when their right wing touched down to put them 11-3 up at the break.
Welwyn made changes in the forwards during half-time and were first to score in the second period.
Centre Peter Elliott intercepted the ball inside his own 22 and with the Letchworth full-back out of position he had a straight but long run to the visitors' try line.
Despite the attentions of three defenders, he was able to score on the right.
The conversion failed but the deficit was now reduced to just three points.
The north Herts side immediately responded and worked the ball to their right and then back to the left, creating a large space.
Child covered across magnificently and put in a thumping tackle but the Letchworth centre was able to offload the ball inside, allowing a try to the left of the Welwyn posts. This was converted to increase the gap to 16-8.
Soon afterwards, Letchworth were penalised for holding and the home team brought play up to just outside the 22 on the left with a good kick to touch by Child.
The ball was worked towards the centre from the lineout and Welwyn were awarded a penalty when the visitors strayed offside.
Hughes converted from the 22 to bring the score to 18-11 midway through the half.
Letchworth were immediately penalised at the restart for pulling down the jumper and a short penalty was driven into touch on the Welwyn 10 metre line.
Welwyn continued to press with a drive on the right but were stopped on the 22 by a tackle.
Letchworth then drove towards the centre and Welwyn were penalised for holding, giving the visitors a kick to touch on the 10 metre line on their right.
From the lineout, Letchworth worked the ball to the left and created a large gap, allowing them to score halfway out.
The conversion was missed but the lead was now increased to 23-11.
Welwyn continued to apply pressure in the final 10 minutes of the game.
However, during that time skipper Hopley suffered an arm injury that was later diagnosed as a break.
Welwyn were unable to add to their score and Letchworth ended as deserved winners of a game in which neither side particularly impressed.
This coming Saturday Welwyn's 1st XV entertain Aarhus RK from Denmark in a friendly fixture.
Welwyn then return to league rugby on Saturday, March 1 with an away game at Eton Manor as they hunt for a vital victory to preserve their London Two North status.