Picture gallery: Below par Walden do just enough to win at Chingford

Try scorer Centre Andrew Smith sprints forward. Try scorer Centre Andrew Smith sprints forward.

Thursday, December 12, 2013
9:14 AM

In the post-match huddle, coach Paul Finch fairly reflected that the team “made a real meal of that game” – nevertheless, Saffron Walden were able to come away with both league points.

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A cagey start was characterised by plenty of dropped ball and an inability to dominate the opposition. Walden’s forwards unusually appeared lacklustre and showed insufficient commitment in the rucks and mauls.

The Chingford midfield started to make inroads through the Walden first line of defence, and more than once, a missed Walden tackle resulted in additional pressure to be soaked up.

In the 10th minute, Stand-Off Jesper Walker lined up his opposite number during a Chingford foray towards the Walden 22m line. Due to the ferocity of the tackle, the ball spilled out of hand into grateful Walden hands.

Centre Andrew Smith was on hand and ready for the foot race. Sprinting for two thirds of the length of the pitch, he cleverly cut in past the full back and touched down beneath the posts. Dan Rust added the conversion.

For the rest of the first half Walden created chance after chance in front of the Chingford line, however solid defence and perhaps a lack of killer instinct resulted in no further Walden scores. Chingford then added insult to injury and, in the last play of the half, managed to manufacture a forwards try of their own on the right wing. The half time score was 7-5 to Walden with the game back in the balance.

The robust half-time team talk spurred Walden to better things. On 10 minutes, the forwards secured ruck ball out on the left wing inside the Chingford 22.

Centre Ben Morris sprinted at full pace into the back line and, in spite of the attention of three separate tacklers, his determination to cross the line paid off. Rust again converted and the score was 14-5.

Walden were increasingly in charge now and Chingford were looking like a beaten side. After 27 minutes, Matt Holden, constantly a threat both in attack and defence, received the ball in the back line and, like Morris before him, showed significant strength and determination to fight off tacklers and score a deserved try.

Positive contributions were made by debutant Wing James Kelvin, unlucky not to score in the first half after being tackled close to the line.

Captain Harvey Woodbridge led from the front and was ferocious in the rucks. The result was a deserved win for Walden, but they will have to play more cohesive rugby if they are to consolidate their current second position in the League in the matches to come.

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