Much-changed Welwyn side suffer big loss away to Chiswick
PUBLISHED: 10:16 04 February 2020
Welwyn suffered a double whammy on Saturday as a huge number of missing players led to a big 63-7 loss at Chiswick.
The Hobbs Way-based rugby club had pushed perennial high-flyers Hampstead all the way seven days earlier, losing 18-17, but they were only able to field seven of that 18-man squad in west London as injuries and unavailability bit hard.
It meant the much-changed side were no match for an impressive Chiswick side, whose pace and power in the backs proved too hot for Welwyn to handle.
But to their great credit, Welwyn never threw in the towel and if prizes were given for determination, the team would not have returned empty handed from this difficult away trip.
They handed debuts to three players in with Jack Cottrell coming in at number eight, Tom Griffiths joining him in the back row and Matt Gray slotting in at hooker.
And all three acquitted themselves well as did veteran back-row forward Rob Picken who made a try-scoring return to the first team in typical fashion, picking up from the base of a five-metre scrum.
Chris Kemp converted that but it proved to be Welwyn's only score as the hosts took full advantage of their 4G surface to play a fast attacking game and score 11 tries in all.
Picken's score was the last of the half and came with the home team down to 14, their second row penalised for collapsing a promising maul as it rumbled close to the line.
It meant the two teams turned around with Chiswick 24-7 to the good and having already secured their bonus point for four tries.
The second half, however, was one-way traffic although Welwyn's cause was not helped by a yellow card for not retreating 10 metres as Chiswick took a quick-tap penalty.
The result leaves Welwyn in an increasingly difficult situation, sitting 11th in London Two North West and nine points from Datchworth above them and safety.
They still have seven games to go though and a week off to lick their wounds and watch the Six Nations will be a blessed relief.
Their next match on February 15 is another tricky contest at home to second-place Hammersmith & Fulham.