Welwyn fall to home defeat

PUBLISHED: 12:03 28 October 2011

Welwyn v Old Haberdashers. Photos by Michael Boyton

Welwyn v Old Haberdashers. Photos by Michael Boyton

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WELWYN’S season took another turn for the worse when they fell to a 24-10 home defeat to Old Haberdashers.

With really the first proper attack of the match, Habs fielded a clearance kick 12 minutes into the match, and rapidly made ground through the hands up to Welwyn’s 22.

There the first phase of possession was moved from left to right, and the Habs outside centre crashed over for a simple score just to the right of the Welwyn posts, the simple conversion took the score to 7-0.

Welwyn enjoyed a period of possession from the re-start, but after going through the phases were still making no real headway in terms of territory.

However, on 20 minutes, Carl Lewis created an opportunity, and was brought to ground by what looked to be a legitimate tackle – the referee didn’t see it that way, and the Habs hooker was shown a yellow card.

Welwyn capitalised on the extra man and were able to drive play towards Habs 22, when a simple penalty opportunity was missed by fly half Mark Cullen.

A poor line-out drill enabled Habs to kick through back up to Welwyn’s 22 and after a couple of phases managed to knock-on with Welwyn’s open try line at their mercy.

Welwyn cleared their lines and created some forward momentum, only to knock on and be pegged back yet again, and a penalty opportunity presented itself when Welwyn infringed at a ruck just outside their 22, the kick however was unsuccessful.

Having repelled yet another attack, Welwyn won turnover ball at a ruck, only to be pinged again for not releasing. Habs opted for a line out, catch and drive, and went over for a try 15m out from the right-hand upright, it was converted making the half-time score 14-0.

Five minutes into the half, Ben Ofori, who had been treated in the first half for an ankle injury, was finally forced to leave the field, heralding the arrival of Rory Harcourt, who went to inside centre, shuffling Jovan Masalunga to the wing.

Finally Welwyn got something to show for their endeavour, when, from the line-out they chose this time to move the ball, first left, and then back thorough several hands for second row Rapley to cross in the right hand corner but the conversion was missed so the score was 14-5.

Welwyn found themselves once again in Habs’ red zone following the umpteenth penalty at the breakdown, and enjoyed line-out possession in their 22.

The good work was undone by poor handling and Habs secured scrum ball to clear the danger up to half way.

Further exchanges allowed Habs to push into Welwyn’s 22 and Welwyn continued to contribute to their own downfall by failing to clear the danger area, finally resulting in a simple penalty opportunity for Habs, on Welwyn’s 22m, directly in front of the posts, a gift gratefully received to move the score to 17-5 with less than 10 minutes to go.

Welwyn resumed with some urgency, and an error by Habs gave the home side a line-out on Habs’ 22, but again the enterprise came to an end due to poor decision making and handling.

Habs cleared into Welwyn’s half, but full back Gillespie returned the kick with interest, and the visiting full-back made the mistake of wishful thinking, when the ball went into touch inches from the corner flag for a defence line-out rather than touch-in-goal

Blue knocked on in the line-out and from the ensuing scrum, No 8 Hopley picked and drove, recycling through first prop Grant Keeler, and then through flanker Rory Page, who smashed over for a try, 17-10 with just three minutes to go.

Unfortunately the lack of composure which characterised much of the game was to be Welwyn undoing – in pushing for the final score, and doing much good in exerting pressure, a forced pass was intercepted, giving the visitors a free seven-point score under the posts and securing a 24-10 triumph.


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