Welwyn enjoy themselves as they crash Harpenden's party
PUBLISHED: 08:21 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:21 02 October 2018
Welwyn played their role as party-poopers perfectly as they spoiled Harpenden's celebrations with a 22-19 win.
The game marked the official opening of the Redbourn Lane-based rugby club’s new artificial pitch and there was plenty of pomp afforded to the occasion.
But Welwyn were in no mood to play second fiddle and with perfect conditions both under foot and over head they battled to the narrow success.
Honours were largely even in the opening 15 minutes although Harpenden lost lock Ed Preston to the bin following a quick tap-penalty taken by Yourgos Alexander.
And three minutes later Welwyn took advantage of their numerical superiority.
Dave Francis took a good ball at the tail of the line-out and fed Conor Boland, who crashed over to open the scoring.
Harpenden responded with a try of their own, Billy Sach going under the posts following a break in midfield, leaving Will Hales the easy conversion to give Harpenden a 7-5 lead.
But back came Welwyn and Alexander released tearaway wing forward Josh Milton, who raced in from 30 yards with Ben Osgood converting.
However, Harpenden managed to level the scores on the stroke of half-time spurning two kickable penalties in favour of the scrum, decisions that led to Jack Pennell scoring in the corner.
Chris Kemp replaced Osgood early in the second half but soon saw yellow for a team offence close to the Welwyn line.
And Harpenden used that to get their noses in front, George Attfield galloping over for a converted try.
It was now Welwyn’s turn to attack and like their hosts, a kickable penalty was refused, this time in favour of a kick to the corner.
From the line-out, Boland broke free to score his second try of the game almost unopposed and Dave Fennell’s conversion levelled the scores at 19-19.
What turned out to be the winning score arrived with five minutes left on the clock, Kemp doing the honours.
And even though there was still time for one last Harpenden attack, their potshot at the posts narrowly missed.
The win puts Welwyn into second place, five points behind leaders Belsize Park and with a home game against bottom of the table Grasshoppers on Saturday.