Welwyn add county title to promotion as great season ends on a high

Welwyn celebrate their Presidents' Tankard win over Cheshunt.

Welwyn celebrate their Presidents' Tankard win over Cheshunt. - Credit: DENNIS FICK

Welwyn rounded off a superb season with victory in a spellbinding Hertfordshire Presidents’ Tankard final against Cheshunt.

The 31-22 success at Harpenden adds to their second place finish and promotion in London Three North West

It was always going to be a close encounter with the two league meetings between the pair being shared, one win each.

Ultimately though it was the strength of the Welwyn pack that did the damage, to the delight of head coach Gareth Hughes.

He said: "Finishing in the top two in the league and winning the Presidents’ Tankard were our goals at the beginning of the season.

"We have a strong squad with a lot of young players coming through, so the future looks very encouraging.

"This result was a just reward for all of the hard work put in by the players over a long season."

A big crowd watched the finals day at Harpenden Rugby Club.

A big crowd watched the finals day at Harpenden Rugby Club. - Credit: DENNIS FICK

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Cheshunt dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game to establish a 10-point lead, helped by a yellow card to Welwyn's Will Freeston but once back to full strength, the Hobbs Way side responded well, to the point they took the lead.

Firstly the big scrum squeezed Cheshunt to the point they had a man put in the bin and when the set-piece was again illegally prevented from rolling forward any further, a penalty try was awarded.

Tom Attfield got one of the Welwyn tries.

Tom Attfield got one of the Welwyn tries. - Credit: DENNIS FICK

The second saw the scrum shove their way over the line to give Tom Attfield the try and Chris Kemp the conversion.

However, a couple of errors undid all of that work and left Welwyn 22-14 down at the interval, Cheshunt scoring two more tries, one of which was converted.

Welwyn's scrum proved too much for Cheshunt in the Herts Presidents' Tankard final.

Welwyn's scrum proved too much for Cheshunt in the Herts Presidents' Tankard final. - Credit: DENNIS FICK

But the words of encouragement at half-time, as well as small tactical tinkering, did the trick and Welwyn dominated the remainder of the contest, stopping their opponents from adding to their tally.

Rob Picken and Freeston touched down from close range and with Kemp converted both, it gave them a six-point lead.

Chris Kemp was perfect off the kicking tee for Welwyn against Cheshunt.

Chris Kemp was perfect off the kicking tee for Welwyn against Cheshunt. - Credit: DENNIS FICK

That was still not wholly convincing but with eight minutes to go, a penalty in front of the posts gave Kemp another shot at goal and he continued his perfect record from the tee to leave Cheshunt needing two scores to win.

That ultimately proved beyond them.