Saints back on track with victory over Welwyn
St Albans come out on top in derby match
London 2 NW
Welwyn 19 St Albans 32
ON a blistering hot day it was a red hot period in the first half which saw St Albans put last week’s disappointing performance behind them and get a well earned bonus point win at local rivals Welwyn.
In close to thirty degree heat on a rock hard pitch it was Welwyn that started the stronger as they retained ball well and kept the ball close to there sizeable forwards.
The blue and gold did themselves no favours as they gave away a series of soft penalties for offside and hands in the ruck and soon found themselves 6-0 down having hardly touched the ball inside the opening 15 minutes.
The Saints’ first decent possession showed the visitors’ intent though as fly half Jack Stephenson took the ball flat and sent centre Ross Turnbull up the middle, a clean break that left just the full-back to beat and although the pass went to ground and the opportunity was missed the intent was not.
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As the game was paused for a much needed drinks break it was the Saints that were beginning to assert themselves. Straight from the restart St Albans earned a penalty as the Huddleston brothers combined to turn the ball over and from the quick tap Daniel Smart went on a weaving run to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed but with the kick off not going 10 Saints put the pressure straight back on Welwyn with the impressive front row turning the ball to allow a blindsided break which put winger Ed Coy in for his fifth try in as many games. The conversion was good and St Albans went into the lead.
They then really let the shackles off as forwards and backs began offloading and running great lines leaving Welwyn chasing shadows as half time approached.
Another try followed as centres Gareth Lane and Turnbull combined with Stevenson to put second row John Sayers in and he scored under the posts.
This try would have been an early contender for try of the season if it hadn’t been for the even better one that followed. As backs and forwards again combined from deep, the ball was offloaded to prop Sean Edwards who went over with a flourish to secure the bonus point. On the stroke of half time Welwyn kicked a third penalty to remind Saints that they were still in this game and make the half time score 24-9 in the away side’s favour.
The second half proved a scrappy and frustrating affair for both sides as inconsistent refereeing saw a raft of penalties and pile ups.
An early Smart penalty stretched the lead to 17 but the strong Welwyn pack began making inroads and with 15 minutes left the home side were given a lifeline as their centre crashed over.
Any hopes of a comeback were soon snuffed out though as Saints refocused and upped the tempo of the game, and after a quick turnover from Jack Ransome, Stephenson made a break down the left and put full-back James Dickinson into space. He accelerated down the flank and swerved round the full-back before going over in the corner. Welwyn continued to battle and scored a second try after a series of short drives but the final whistle came leaving the home side empty handed and the boys from Boggymead with a bonus point.