Harpenden celebrations brought to a juddering halt as Welwyn play party-poopers

PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 October 2018

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

Harpenden’s day of celebration came to a juddering halt as Welwyn played the role of party pooper to perfection.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

A glorious sunlit day began with the Redbourn Lane-based rugby club officially opened their new £1.2 million all-weather pitch.

Harpenden V Welwyn -


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Picture: Karyn Haddon

The inauguration was performed by David Roberts, RFU council representative for Hertfordshire, who presented a commemorative vase to Harpenden president Peter Danby.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

And in expressing his immense pride in the facility, Danby paid a warm tribute to Darren Francey (club chairman), Peter Woodthorpe (secretary) and Philip Langford for their huge efforts in bringing the project to fruition.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

But from there things began to unravel.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden were second best in the derby clash and their promising start to their London North West Two campaign ended with a 22-19 defeat.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

While they generally scrummaged and mauled well and there was no lack of effort, the end product was often marred by basic errors which resulted in the concession of a stream of penalties and turnovers.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

And it was from one of these penalties six minutes from time that Welwyn, who were good value for the win, got their noses in front for the last time.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden captain Oli Lacey was his usual honest self after the game.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

He said: “This was hugely disappointing. We made too many mistakes and there was a lack of discipline in key areas.

Harpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - George Attfield in action for Harpenden Picture: Karyn Haddon

“Despite all this, I still thought we might win but we let it go in the end.”

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harps were under pressure from the kick-off but after weathering the storm they failed to take advantage when stand-off Will Hales missed a penalty attempt on nine minutes.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And six minutes later Welwyn took the lead through a Conor Boland try, aided by the departure of lock Ed Preston moments earlier for a yellow-card offence.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

But Harpenden hit back quickly with a fine try of their own, scored under the posts by outside centre Billy Sach after a strong run from Jack Murphy and converted by Hales.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Ed Preston in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Ed Preston in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

More poor defence put Welwyn back in front, flanker Josh Milton, touching down under the posts, but Harpenden ensured parity at half-time when Jack Pennell went over in the corner.

Harpenden V Welwyn .


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn . Picture: Karyn Haddon

And they got the go-ahead try 15 minutes into the second-half.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Jack Haddock in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

George Attfield got it, bursting clear for a try under the posts to give Hales the easy conversion.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Adam Wilkinson in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Adam Wilkinson in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

All that good work, however, was undone five minutes later when Boland scored his second try of game.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Dave Fennell in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

It meant the scores were tied at 19-19 going into the final 10 minutes but Harpenden’s discipline problems reared their head again with a penalty being given away, and Dave Fennell gleefully deposited the kick between the posts.

Harpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Welwyn - Philip Grehan in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden did have one more chance to level, but Hales’ penalty drifted wide of the posts.

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