Welwyn contrive to let lead slip as Enfield boost their own safety hopes

PUBLISHED: 14:45 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 04 March 2019

Harry Gillespie scored on his 100th first-team appearance for Welwyn. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harry Gillespie scored on his 100th first-team appearance for Welwyn. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Welwyn will still be wondering how on earth they managed to lose 24-20 at home to bottom of the table Enfield Ignatians.

The Hobbs Way-based rugby club are targetting a top-four finish in London Two North West following last year’s promotion and everything looked on course when they raced into a 12-0 lead after 20 minutes.

And even though Enfield clawed their way back into the contest, Welwyn were still leading 20-14 with eight minutes to go.

But a converted try put Enfield ahead for the first, and crucially the most important time in the match, and a penalty finished things off.

Hemel Hempstead have now moved fourth, three points above Welwyn who are a further point clear of Hampstead as the three-horse battle heads into its final few games.

This match saw Welwyn not at their fluent best against a side they often struggle against.

The hosts did look dangerous in broken play and whenever the ball was moved wide, but the vistors enjoyed better luck with a more rigid, structured approach based upon a solid set piece and experience at number eight and fly-half.

But Welwyn made the better start and were ahead after only three minutes, Dave Wells linking with Yourgos Alexander from the back of a scrum before releasing Vitaea Kawea who sped over to score.

Liam Walpole and Adam Harcourt were the architects for Welwyn’s second score, Harry Gillespie getting the final touch down the blind side and Dave Fennell converting although Enfield cancelled that out just before half-time when Liam Dunne went over after a series of driving mauls and Jake Bates kicking the extras.

But Welwyn enjoyed a good start to the second period as well with Fennell adding three points shortly after the restart.

Back came Enfield though and when Wes Warren and Bates added seven more points to the visitors’ tally, the gap was reduced to one.

Welwyn thought they had restored balance when a searing run up the left flank by Gillespie, making his 100th first-team appearance, allowed Conor Boland to score but the Ignatians weren’t finished and Cairo Sango and Bates made sure the points would return to north London.

Welwyn now have two weeks off and aren’t back in action until March 23 when they host Chiswick.

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