Welwyn bowled over by lords of the manor
PUBLISHED: 17:01 02 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:01 26 October 2009
London 2 North Welwyn 7 Eton Manor 23 WELWYN slipped to yet another defeat on Saturday, losing 23-7 at home to Eton Manor in the battle of the bottom sides. Manor, with a drawn game in addition to their win, were sitting just one point above Welwyn at th
London 2 North
Welwyn 7 Eton Manor 23
WELWYN slipped to yet another defeat on Saturday, losing 23-7 at home to Eton Manor in the battle of the bottom sides.
Manor, with a drawn game in addition to their win, were sitting just one point above Welwyn at the bottom of the London 2 North league table.
It was a particular challenge to a Welwyn side depleted by injury and illness. Without captain Owen Hopley, Mark Harris took over the reins of a team including a number of young players with Richard Stokes at prop, Rory Page at flanker and Scott Clewlow and Barry Crowe on the wings.
Jorgo Alexander came in at scrum-half and Steve Gardiner and Andy Smith made the bench.
The visitors kicked off on a wintry day that meant heavy conditions underfoot would determine the pace of the game.
Almost from the kick-off Welwyn tried to run the ball from their own half.
But the ball was spilled in midfield and the Eton Manor backs pounced and, with extra space outside, the right winger stole in for a try.
The conversion failed, but already after a few minutes the home side were 5-0 down.
The penalty count after 10 minutes or so was six against Welwyn and four against Eton Manor. The referee had set the pattern.
In this time, Eton Manor had missed a kickable penalty and the Hobbs Way side had failed with two kicks to touch to get out of their own half.
The Welwyn defence had held well until the first yellow card was directed at flanker Rob James, who was deemed to have killed the ball at a ruck.
From a tap ball, the visitors drove over the Welwyn line for a try which was converted to give Eton Manor a lead of 12-0 after less than 15 minutes play.
The Welwyn 14 successfully defended against several attacks by the Eton backs, who looked lively with the increased ball they were now getting.
While play was still concentrated deep in the Welwyn half, newcomer Eugene Viljoen at full-back put in a steady performance and made one penetrating run to take play for only the second time into the Eton half.
The scrappy game continued with an increasing penalty count for both sides until Stokes was eventually the next Welwyn yellow-card casualty on the half hour.
Martin Cannon had to come on from the bench to maintain the front row and Page temporarily left the field.
The resulting penalty from the Welwyn 25 was converted to increase the visitors' lead to 15-0.
Alexander became Welwyn's third player to be yellow-carded, and a scrappy half ended where the home pack had not managed to really control the set-piece and had been severely penalised by the referee.
An early disaster awaited the hosts almost from the kick-off when Manor went over for another try, and although the conversion failed, Welwyn now trailed 20-0.
This seemed to galvanise the home side, who now advanced quickly down almost to the Eton line, and with Stokes back on, proceeded to pick and drive from a few yards out.
It was now Manor's turn to concede penalties and again have a player yellow-carded. The Welwyn pack took this opportunity to dive over and Grant Keeler grounded the ball for a try.
Gareth Hughes converted to reduce the deficit to 20-7.
Almost from the restart, Welwyn conceded another penalty in front of the posts.
The kick was converted to take the score to 23-7, which is how the match finished.
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