Relegation not necessarily a negative as Welwyn excited for new year and old rivalries

PUBLISHED: 06:56 21 April 2020

Welwyn will swap a derby with Letchworth for ones with Hitchin, St Albans and Stevenage Town. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Welwyn will swap a derby with Letchworth for ones with Hitchin, St Albans and Stevenage Town. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Archant

They may have had their relegation confirmed after the RFU found a “fair and balanced” way to end the season but Welwyn Rugby Club are already looking forward to next year’s campaign.

Brad Lack and Harry Gillespie were two players unavailable for Welwyn this year. Picture: KEVIN LINESBrad Lack and Harry Gillespie were two players unavailable for Welwyn this year. Picture: KEVIN LINES

It should see them placed in London North West Three with some very familiar faces, the likes of Hitchin, Stevenage Town, St Albans and Tabard.

And those battles against near neighbours should see plenty of benefits, not just the prospect of a multitude of competitive matches.

“The lunches should be good,” said Mark Elliott, the chairman of the Hobbs Way-based club, excitedly. “Sadly we missed our last lunch of the season [against Datchworth] which would have been a big one.

“The RFU have done the sensible thing. There were some rumours going around that it would be just one up, one down, but that didn’t happen in the end.

“Even if it is not actually the end of the season, the table doesn’t lie. We were well adrift and we don’t feel hard done and we’re actually looking forward to next season already.

“The travel will be virtually non-existent with Finsbury Park probably our furthest trip.

“It’s disappointing obviously but the quality of player we had missing this year made a difference.

“People like Aaron Daniel, Harry Gillespie, Connor Boland and Brad Lack are quality players who would get into anybody’s team and they just didn’t play for one reason or another.

“It was a tough league as there are some very good sides in there but next season we’ll hopefully win more than we lose.

“We’ll see how it goes. It won’t be easy but there is quite a big step up between North West Three and North West Two and we’ll be more comfortable.

“When people see me in the town they’ll often say ‘Welwyn are doing well’ and they have no idea which league we are in.

“We’d rather be top half of one league than bottom half of the one above.”

n Mark Elliott says that the club’s JOCA charity is still operating during the lockdown for anybody who needs somebody to talk to.

JOCA is the welfare arm of the club and was set-up to offer support, guidance and a friendly ear in a time of need as well as taking steps to help destigmatise mental health amongst young men and women.

“We’ve sent a reminder out to all of our members about JOCA that they are here to help if you need it,” said Elliott.

“I get in a pretty low place from time to time and I’m sure others do too.

“I’d be amazed if they don’t speak to anybody by the end of this crisis and it’s just a voice on the end of the phone if that’s all you need.

“They have got access to expert help which they fund.”

Email joca@welwynrfc.co.uk at any time and someone will get straight back to you.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times