Welwyn stoop but just fail to conquer

PUBLISHED: 17:54 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:40 26 October 2009

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WELWYN S Under-10 squad finished off their rugby season in style by representing the club in the grand final of the Etihad Airways Cup. The tournament was hosted by Harlequins and was played on their pitch at the Twickenham Stoop. Reaching this stage wa

WELWYN'S Under-10 squad finished off their rugby season in style by representing the club in the grand final of the Etihad Airways Cup.

The tournament was hosted by Harlequins and was played on their pitch at the Twickenham Stoop.

Reaching this stage was an achievement in itself, with the Welwyn squad competing against over 50 clubs from across the South East of England in a preliminary round and semi-finals to qualify for the grand finale against seven other high-flying teams.

The Welwyn team started their campaign in positive style against Westcombe Park, one of Kent's leading sides.

The opening exchanges were fairly even, but with forwards Alex Passingham and Oliver Laws-Mather keeping things tight up front, the Welwyn backs began to find a bit more space.

A penalty move before half-time saw fly-half Paddy Watt link up with centre Freddie Walker, who scythed through the Westcombe defence to give the Welwyn side a deserved lead.

The Hobbs Way boys piled on the pressure in the second half, and scrum-half Robert Orchard seized his opportunity with a sniping run from the back of a scrum to round out the match with a 2-0 scoreline.

Back-to-back games meant that the team barely had time to catch their breath before taking on the eventual tournament winners from Effingham & Leatherhead.

This was a stiffer challenge for the Welwyn side, with Effingham's powerful runners using pace and width in their attacks.

Wings Oliver Boorn and Michael Brown helped to withstand the onslaught with some strong tackling, but the pressure eventually told with two tries conceded before half-time.

The team fought back in the second half, with centre Callum Tormey leading the line with some brave driving runs.

However, Welwyn couldn't breach the opposition defence.

A last-gasp try left Effingham & Leatherhead 3-0 winners.

Welwyn's final match was another close-fought encounter with Upminster.

There was no score in the first half, with forwards Alex Jennings and Oliver Byrne competing aggressively in rucks and mauls.

The second half was as tight as the first, and it was hard on the Welwyn side when Upminster grabbed a breakaway try with only minutes remaining. Despite some late pressure, the score remained 1-0 at the final whistle.

Although the Welwyn players were disappointed not to have finished with a win, they showed tremendous character in both reaching the Stoop showpiece, and competing so well against some of the best teams in their age group.

The squad now takes a well-earned break prior to resuming their campaign in September.


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