Rugby: Battling Walden 2s win at Royston
21:42 21 January 2014
Saffron Walden kept their place at the top of the table after a hard-fought 38-19 victory at Royston.
It was a good all-round performance for Walden’s second string, with the forwards, although up against it in the scrum, sticking to their task. They competed in the loose and were strong at the line-out giving enough of the ball for the backs to work their magic.
With the slight breeze against them and several regulars away it was always going to be a tough battle against a Royston team that have had some decent recent results.
And so it proved as the experienced Royston pack had the ascendancy in the tight all game, and used this advantage after only three minutes when, from an attacking line-out, drove over to score the first points.
Walden hit back. They won good ball in the centre of the park and a couple of slick moves later saw fly-half James Reid go over in the corner to narrow the gap to 7-5.
This set the scene for the game with Royston dominant in the scrums and Walden using their pacey backs to counter attack at every opportunity.
Twelve minutes into the game acting captain, starting at No.8, Neil Gaffan got into the act and received a good pass to scythe his way through the defence to go under the posts.
This was extended to 7-17 on the half-hour mark with a fine solo effort by Walden scrum-half Will Almond.
But Royston hit back with an unconverted try on the stroke of half time.
For large parts of the second half Walden could not get their hands on the ball as Royston continued to play to their strengths and played a tight game.
However, when they did lose it and Walden managed to turn them over and always looked dangerous. On two occasions the ball was worked out to winger Rob Booth who used his pace and strength on both occasions to go round the covering defence to stretch the lead to 12–31 on the hour mark.
Royston continued to battle and managed to score a push over try to take the score to 19–31 with 15 minutes to go.
But one more move in the last five minutes saw the Walden backs break the line and this time club stalwart Tom Handy, playing at centre, managed to break a tackle and run round under the posts.