Welwyn enjoy themselves as they crash Harpenden's party

PUBLISHED: 08:21 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:21 02 October 2018

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

Welwyn played their role as party-poopers perfectly as they spoiled Harpenden's celebrations with a 22-19 win.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Adam Wilkinson in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Adam Wilkinson in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

And three minutes later Welwyn took advantage of their numerical superiority.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Ed Preston in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Ed Preston in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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 V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

But back came Welwyn and Alexander released tearaway wing forward Josh Milton, who raced in from 30 yards with Ben Osgood converting.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

Chris Kemp replaced Osgood early in the second half but soon saw yellow for a team offence close to the Welwyn line.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

And Harpenden used that to get their noses in front, George Attfield galloping over for a converted try.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

What turned out to be the winning score arrived with five minutes left on the clock, Kemp doing the honours.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And even though there was still time for one last Harpenden attack, their potshot at the posts narrowly missed.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

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