Welwyn secure bragging rights with Hitchin victory
PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 October 2012 | UPDATED: 10:20 11 October 2012
WELWYN continued their early season form, going from strength to strength with a fine win against old rivals Hitchin.
On a fine autumn day the Hobbs Way side started brightly taking complete control over the early encounters and keeping possession through several phases of play.
Scrambling defence from Hitchin prevented potential breakthoughs on several occasions.
Welwyn pushed play to inside the visitors’ 22 metre line only to lose their own lineout when a clean take was required. From the turnover Hitchin tried to run out of defence but the home side absorbed the pressure, recovered the ball and returned to the attack.
With Kyle Birkin always threatening to get away Hitchin redoubled their defensive efforts to keep Welwyn out.
Yourgos Alexander slipped a clever kick through to set up the lineout just outside the Hitchin 22.
The visitors cleared poorly but the promising Welwyn counter-attack failed when a player inadvertently knocked on. At the scrum hooker Rory Page took the first of his many strikes against the head and Welwyn surged forward only to be repulsed by a strong Hitchin defence.
The continual Welwyn pressure lead to the inevitable penalty which Pat Lynch slotted to take Welwyn into a well deserved 3-0 lead.
At this point Welwyn were in total control; Pat Falvey, Josh Hewitt, Ed Whittham and Joe Brace dominated the rucks and with Gareth Hughes orchestrating the attacks further scores and tries seemed inevitable.
Ben Ofori, hungry for work, was a constant threat and with Rob Picken making powerful runs from the base of the scrum the visitors were very definitely on the back foot for most of the half.
Hitchin, desperate in defence, gave away a series of penalties in front of their own posts but unfortunately Welwyn were unable to take full advantage missing two out of three kicks until Owen Doyle managed to slot one to extend the lead to six points.
Hitchin suddenly started a spirited fight back and a long kick took play to the Welwyn end. Tom Attfield took a clean ball from the lineout and Welwyn surged back upfield.
With the spectators adding their vocal support a Welwyn try was sure to come but Hitchin again defended well and made ground back into the home team’s half.
Welwyn then changed tactics and ran out of defence. Gareth Hughes made an excellent diagonal kick ahead into space. The centre following up at pace just failed to hold the difficult catch which would have given a clear overlap. From the ensuing scrum Page again took the ball against the head and Welwyn returned to the attack.
When Hitchin were adjudged to have illegally slowed up the ruck ball, Owen Doyle coolly slotted the kick to extend the lead to 9-0.
At the beginning of the second half, Hitchin seemed like a different team making an inspired start, turning over possession in rucks and taking the ascendancy in the lineouts where Welwyn began to struggle for clean ball.
Strong tackling kept the visitors out and Welwyn steadily returned to the attack with strong runs from Louis Castaglione, Dan Webb and Rob Picken.
A great run from Tom Attwood took him clear through the middle and with a quick transfer of the ball into the hands of Rob Picken backing up saw the dynamic back rower speed down the wing beating several players to score a fine try near the posts. The conversion took Welwyn 16 points clear.
Welwyn then robbed the visitors of the ball and smooth interpassing between several players transferred the ball quickly into the hands of the speedy Muhunthan Harinath for the winger to cross for a fine try wide out.
Pat Lynch added the points for Welwyn to ease into a 23 point lead.
With less than 10 minutes left Hitchin rallied and drove down the field in a determined manner.
A good Hitchin lineout became a driving maul and the heavyweight front row drove over the line for a converted consolation try. The frantic end to the game saw Hitchin desperately trying to add to their tally whilst Welwyn coolly held firm.
A very good result for Welwyn who have now won all their games to put them fourth in London 3 North West with a game in hand.