Gutsy Hampstead edge past Welwyn in 12-try thriller to cap off rollercoaster season

Hampstead face the camera after their final match of the season (Pic: Charlie Roberts)

Hampstead face the camera after their final match of the season (Pic: Charlie Roberts) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead edged Welwyn in a pulsating encounter on Saturday, turning the tables on the visitors with a second-half come back of attacking verve and power to emerge victors 43-39.

The try bonus point win, and Hemel Hempstead’s shock home defeat to bottom club Letchworth, ensured Hampstead finished fourth in London 2 North West at the end of an up and down season.

After 30 minutes Hampstead trailed 26-5 and failed to take several chances while Welwyn seemed to score with every meaningful attack.

From a scrum just outside the red zone Welwyn’s impressive number 11 raced onto the ball and burst through three tackles to score under the posts.

Pete Bicknell hit back for Hampstead, but Welwyn notched up another three first-half tries to lead by 21 points.

A score by Sam Cawley shortly before half-time saw Hampstead claw back five points but the home side still had a mountain to climb.

The Hampstead captain Max Moncrieff barged over in the corner shortly after the restart, fly-half Craig Harper adding the extras.

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Two minutes later, Moncrieff secured the try bonus point with his second score of the day, latching onto a pass after a fantastic work by the loose forwards.

Welwyn sought to steady the ship with a penalty kick but a yellow card for a high tackle that floored Moncrieff had the visitors on the back foot once more.

Fittingly, it was the captain who made the visitors pay, rounding off a scintillating passage of ball-in-hand play to score.

Remarkably, Hampstead were in front and while Welwyn soon regained the lead with a second penalty, the momentum had swung decisively in favour of the home side.

From the restart, it took Hampstead just five passes to score again, Dave Brandon evading a stretched defence to cross the line.

Hampstead never relinquished the lead and were next to score.

They won a five-metre scrum having recycled the ball, Moncrieff was again on hand to barge over for his fourth and Hampstead’s final score of the day.

Welwyn scored a fifth try at the death to add a losing bonus point to their try bonus point, but Hampstead’s victory and gave the north London outfit the perfect end to a tough season.