Welwyn win nail-biting clash at home to Finchley
PUBLISHED: 16:59 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 17:02 18 March 2014
Welwyn survived late drama on Saturday to secure a 22-21 victory at home to Finchley.
The visitors had a conversion attempt right on the final whistle that would have secured them a remarkable victory - but the kick was missed, and it was Welwyn who secured the narrowest of victories.
From the kick-off Finchley, with the wind at their backs, put Welwyn under early pressure. With slick interpassing from their backs, Finchley kept play in the Welwyn half for the first 20 minutes.
The pressure eventually brought them the opening penalty before Welwyn began to take control and strong runs from Rory Harcourt, Grant Keeler and Ben Solis took play deep into the Finchley half.
Ashley Maxwell came very close to scoring only to see the defence scramble the ball away. Again Welwyn came back, driving to the visitors line before Phil Grehan scored and converted by Gareth Hughes, Welwyn went to the break deservedly in the lead.
Welwyn started the second half in commanding mood, threatening to extend the lead. However, from a scrum on the Finchley 22, the visitors intercepted a pass to run the length of the field and score under the posts, the conversion was missed but Finchley had a one-point lead.
Welwyn stormed back deep into their opponents’ territory. A stolen lineout and a quick ball saw Phil Grehan cross near the posts for a fine converted try.
Welwyn in the lead pressed home their advantage, however a simple slip at a scrum near the Finchley line let the visitors run the length of the field again, only desperate covering tackles by Rory Harcourt and Phil Grehan stopping a score.
Although Welwyn were clearly the better side, a string of penalties gave the visitors a chance to score out wide to narrow the margin. A further penalty in front of the posts took them into the lead.
Welwyn, not to be outdone, took play back to their opponents’ half, and Hughes kicked a penalty to retake the lead.
Then in a fine move, William Freeston slipped the ball out for Chris Kemp to score an unconverted try with five minutes to go.
Again an unfortunate string of penalties took play back into the Welwyn end culminating in a Finchley try wide out. The missed conversion on the final whistle gave Welwyn a deserved victory by the narrowest of margins.