Welwyn back in the groove with dogged win over Hackney pushing them up the table
PUBLISHED: 13:43 18 February 2019
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Welwyn showed they are most definitely back in the groove with a 24-17 success away to Hackney pushing them closer to their goal of a top-four finish.
The Hobbs Way-based rugby club had suffered either side of the Christmas break with a run of seven games without a win spoiling a fantastic start to their London Two North West season.
But that sequence of disappointments was ended with last week’s thumping of Hammersmith & Fulham and they continued in the same vein with a performance at Spring Hill based on exciting attacking play and unyielding defence.
Coach Gareth Hughes said: “The win was built on defence. We were excellent when we had the ball but the boys dug deep and came away with the bonus-point win.
“We have now won two on the bounce and are looking to go on a run for the remaining games.”
Welwyn had a number of their injured contingent return to the squad but took time to settle, with the first quarter played entirely in their half.
But three points was all Hackney could manage from that spell and they were soon made to pay with a turnover giving Dave Fennel the chance to scorch over in the corner.
A further penalty for the hosts put them back in front and they extended that lead with what turned out to be their only try of the game.
But by half-time the visitors were ahead once more.
Vetaia Kawea was twice held up over the line before man of the match Antonio Denton finally punctured the home defences, Fennell adding the extras for a 12-11 lead.
The lead changed hands again shortly after the restart, a third penalty going over the crossbar, but a change in the back-line with Chris Kemp coming on at full-back and Harry Gillespie moving into the centres, saw Welwyn produce 10 minutes of absolutely scintillating rugby.
After a number of phases spreading the play from left to right, Kawea spotted a gap and passed to Fennel, with his basketball-style pass to Adam Harcourt bringing the go-ahead score.
And another superb offload instantly brought another try.
Straight from the kick-off young fly-half Liam Schofield produced a delightful round-the-back pass to Ollie Di-Lieto and he charged in from 40 metres out.
Hackney finished the remainder of the game on the attack but, like the opening spell, Welwyn defended brilliantly and they were only able to narrow the gap by three.