Welwyn progress in Senior Vase
PUBLISHED: 16:25 17 October 2012 | UPDATED: 11:52 18 October 2012
WELWYN progressed into the second round of the Senior Vase after recording their biggest victory margin of the season against Wanstead.
The Hobbs Way outfit fielded a side with several changes from their league victory against Hitchin the previous week.
However, the incomers proved that the hard work and training over the past few months had paid off and they fitted in seamlessly producing a good win against opposition who are in the equivalent league to Welwyn in London 3 North East.
The match started in bright, dry conditions but periods of rain as the afternoon went on made ball handling and underfoot conditions difficult.
Welwyn made a lively start to the game with the lineout and scrum both working well.
Quick recycling of the ball from both set piece and rucks kept the backs very much involved in the game and the new centre partnership of Peter Elliott and Dene Miller worked well off each other.
The referee was quick to penalise players for not releasing the ball and two good passages of play by Welwyn came to nothing and let Wanstead off the hook. Several phases of Welwyn possession resulted in a storming run by Joe Burns who flipped a pass out to Andy Smith for him to race over for the first score of the game.
Pat Lynch converted the try to give Welwyn a 7-0 lead with fifteen minutes of the match played.
The introduction of rolling subs this season meant that all 19 players got some game time and resulted in Dave Cooke leaving the field for a while to be replaced by Josh Hewitt and Dave Wells being replaced by Joe McKay.
Wanstead came back strongly and spent some time camped in the Welwyn 22, testing the Welwyn defence to the limit.
The visitors did breach the defence but dropped the ball over the try line on one occasion and knocked the ball on the second. Welwyn cleared their lines after a very uncomfortable 10-minute spell.
However, Wanstead took a clean lineout ball and drove towards the Welwyn line and were finally rewarded with a try. This was converted and the score stood at 7-7 with 35 minutes played.
Welwyn were stung into action and Dene Miller gave a lovely pass to Andy Smith who romped over for his second try of the match. The try was duly converted and gave Welwyn a 14-7 advantage.
This combination worked well again a few minutes later for Andy Smith to complete his hat-trick and Welwyn went into half time with a 19-7 lead.
An early chance to increase their lead via a penalty kick was unsuccessful but Welwyn continued to attack the Wanstead line and a lovely backs move culminated in Josh Hewitt storming over for a well worked try.
The conversion was missed but Welwyn looked comfortable with a 24-7 lead.
Following a succession of attacking play, the ball went from Yourgos Alexander to Pat Lynch and on to Peter Elliott, who stretched out to score a try.
Again the conversion was missed but Welwyn had increased their lead to 29-7. Wanstead continued to try to attack the Welwyn line but, with confidence riding high, winger Muhunthan Harinath raced down the field to score under the posts. Pat Lynch did the honours to increase Welwyn’s lead.
Soon afterwards some good handling by the backs resulted in Muhunthan scoring his second try of the match.
Pat Lynch was unable to convert but the score stood at 41-7.
Scott Clewlow received a yellow card for a high tackle with two minutes to go and Wanstead took the penalty very quickly, as had been the case all game. Substitutions during the second half were Charlie Aldridge on for Dene Miller, Dave Cooke on for Joe Burns and James Coles on for Joe McKay.
The Welwyn defence, however, stood strong and they came away the deserved victors and it is difficult to single out any one person as this was a fantastic team effort.
It is encouraging to see talented young players like Josh Hewitt, Tom Attfield and Joe McKay fitting in so well with the more seasoned campaigners and to welcome new players in the form of Dene Miller, James Coles and Dave Cooke to the side.
The Red Lion Man of the Match voucher was awarded to Andy Smith for scoring three tries. Welwyn play Imperial Medicals away on Saturday in what is always a difficult encounter.