Final quarter proves costly as Welwyn start New Year with loss to league leaders
PUBLISHED: 16:30 09 January 2019
Welwyn’s first game after Christmas was always going to be a challenging fixture and so it proved as league leaders Belsize Park ran to a 51-13 victory.
The pleasant surroundings of Regent’s Park and an excellent playing surface combine for both sides to put in an entertaining performance.
And but for a disappointing final 20 minutes, the game was actually a lot closer than the score would suggest.
Welwyn started brightly, dominating possession and territory in the early stages and they were rewarded after six minutes with a penalty, kicked over the crossbar by Chris Kemp, and a 10-minute period with an extra man after Belsize received a yellow card.
And Welwyn made that advantage count when a well-executed catch and drive from the line-out resulted in Conor Boland crashing over from close range.
But from then the hosts started to turn the tables.
Their own catch and drive moves brought two tries and a third followed, this time spun wide from the set-piece out to the winger.
Welwyn did manage one more score before half-time though as great support play by Dave Wells, Josh Milton, Dan Comben and Boland took play deep into Belsize territory and Aaron Chandler raced into the corner.
Park again had a man sent to the sin-bin and with Welwyn just 17-13 down at half-time, they felt they were right in the game.
But the hosts regrouped at the break and dominated the majority of the second period.
Their bonus point-try came from another catch and drive from a lineout and another before an hour had been played made it 27-13.
But then came the final 20 minutes and although injuries to the visitors didn’t help, Belsize showed their class.
Welwyn’s difficult start to the season continues with second-placed Harpenden the visitors to Hobbs Way on Saturday.