Welwyn climb out of relegation zone

PUBLISHED: 17:55 01 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:30 26 October 2009

London Two North Thurrock 12 Welwyn 19 WELWYN won their relegation six-pointer against Thurrock on Saturday to edge one step nearer to safety. The win, coupled with a defeat for London Nigerian at Bury St Edmunds, saw Welwyn leapfrog them in the league a

London Two North

Thurrock 12 Welwyn 19

WELWYN won their relegation six-pointer against Thurrock on Saturday to edge one step nearer to safety.

The win, coupled with a defeat for London Nigerian at Bury St Edmunds, saw Welwyn leapfrog them in the league and out of the London Two North relegation slots.

A Welwyn victory at home against Bury St Edmunds on April 12 will now be sufficient to guarantee their league survival if London Nigerian fail to beat in-form Ruislip on the same day.

The visitors started off strongly at Thurrock on Saturday and easily covered the early attacks by the home side, who were frequently penalised for various offences.

From one penalty for diving over in a ruck, Welwyn cleared the ball out to their 22.

Thurrock collected possession from the lineout but knocked the ball forward.

Welwyn were gaining the ascendancy in the forwards and consistently made good yardage with pick up and drives.

The Hobbs Way team should have opened the scoring when Jon Child made a good break down the right but his pass went behind unmarked right-winger Peter Elliott and into touch on the 22.

A series of pick up and drives took the visitors up to 15 metres from the home line and when Thurrock were again penalised, Welwyn opted for the scrum.

Gaining possession, they drove the ball in towards the posts and then moved quickly to the left where hooker Simon Banks collected the ball and was able to dive over about halfway out on the right.

Outside half Gareth Hughes judged the wind to perfection and put the ball squarely between the posts to give the visitors a 7-0 lead after 32 minutes play.

The home side responded well and only five minutes later were back in the game after taking advantage of an overlap to touch down over the line.

Their lack of a specialist kicker became obvious with a poor conversion attempt, but the home side had now reduced the deficit to two points.

Welwyn regained possession from the restart and kicked ahead but were then penalised for a high tackle.

The Thurrock penalty did not go into touch and was collected by Child, who kicked the ball back and followed up, only to be penalised and yellow carded for a high tackle.

This was the final incident of the first half.

Starting the second half with only 14 players, the visitors began to exert even more pressure on the home team.

Simon Banks took the first of several scrums against the head in a 20-minute period when the home side were moved back yards at every scrum.

Nevertheless, Thurrock recovered possession and drove up to the 10 metre line where they gained a penalty for Welwyn not rolling away after the tackle.

The kick gained touch on the Welwyn 10 metre line on the left.

The Essex team then produced a good handling move among their backs, resulting in their flanker breaking through and scoring under the posts.

The kick was converted and the home team now led by 12-7 with six minutes of the half gone.

Welwyn fought back once again as the ball was switched back to winger Peter Elliott, who had come inside following a good spell of pressure.

He darted through the gap created in the defence to score just to the right of the posts.

Hughes added the conversion and after 14 minutes play the scores were now level at 12-12.

A series of Welwyn drives followed from the restart with the ball finally going into touch about five metres from the Thurrock line.

The hosts cleared their lines on their right but the visitors quickly regained possession through Tom Hughes and a penalty by Gareth Hughes returned the ball to the five metre mark.

From there the ball was moved to the right and full-back Child broke through the defensive line to score out on the right.

The conversion attempt failed but Welwyn were now 19-12 ahead with only 15 minutes left to play.

Thurrock struggled to get out of their own half as Welwyn held on to what was a more comfortable victory than the final score would suggest.


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