Picture gallery: Rugby: Walden youngsters fall at the final hurdle in Cambridgeshire Cup Final
PUBLISHED: 07:04 06 March 2014
They down by one score at the end of a game in which they were leading but provided Cambridge with a stern test throughout an entertaining, fairly played and hard fought match.
The sides were equally balanced. With the strong wind behind them in the first half, Cambridge would have expected to dominate possession, yet under pressure from Walden’s more hungry forwards saw themselves pushed back at the ruck. Penalties for illegal handling followed and the increasingly confident Walden players were unlucky not to take the lead when the strong wind kept out two attempts at goal.
In the scrums, front row trio of Harvey Woodbridge, Mikey Sharp and Ollie Ellis provided the stability for Walden’s half back pair of Dan Rust and Jesper Walker to control the game. Centres Ben Morris and James Walters as well as full-back Matt Granger were able to contribute fully. Second row Jed Butler showed speed and strength in the loose.
With no score at half time, coaches Paul Finch and Ian Walters implored their charges to make more of the strong wind in the second half. After just five minutes, they showed they had listened.
Having pressed forward into the Cambridge 22 metre area, a clearance attempt caught in the wind and drifted back towards the home side’s line. Walden surged ahead in search of the bouncing ball and flanker Josh Curtis was on hand to dive over to claim the try. Rust converted.
The large crowd expected Walden to consolidate and close out the game. However, for the next 15 minutes it was Cambridge who began to string several phases of play together and advance upfield. Desperate tackles were required on more than one occasion but, perhaps inevitably, the home side manufactured a try to the right of the posts courtesy of their dangerous outside centre.
The successful conversion brought the scores level and with Cambridge in the ascendancy, the final 15 minutes were always going to be tough for Walden who were tiring.
Cambridge broke through the green defence five minutes later for the deciding score after a fine chip and chase on the left wing.
In spite of some promising possession in the final minutes, Walden could not put the points on the board needed to lift the cup.