Rugby: Saffron Walden in play-offs after defeat at Chelmsford

09:59 17 April 2014

Nik Baker scored two of Waldens tries at Chelmsford, on Saturday.

Nik Baker scored two of Waldens tries at Chelmsford, on Saturday.

Archant

Saffron Walden face a trip to London for the play-offs after finishing second in the London 2NE table.

They slipped to a narrow 38-31 defeat at Chelmsford on Saturday, meaning Ipswich end the season as champions with a game to spare.

The trip to fourth-place Chelmsford was always going to be tough.

Will Brown kicked two penalties to open up a six-point gap but a slick move by the hosts created an overlap for the winger to run in under the posts.

Walden then scored from a driving maul after a five-metre line out and No.8 Nik Baker dotted down.

But Chelmsford hit back and a good counter attack saw a three-on-two ­situation on the blind side to score in the corner.

Walden then had a good period of play and scored two tries – the first a break down the centre and a quick pass to Adam Miles, who went over under the posts, and the second another ­driving maul from a lineout saw Baker score his second before half-time.

Chelmsford had the elements in their favour after the break and with home advantage started off strongly, pressurising Walden into a mistake.

An off-load was intercepted and they ran in a try from halfway to narrow the gap.

Walden hit back with a well-taken penalty but for the next 20 minutes Chelmsford dominated and scored three tries to push ahead by 38-26.

Walden then woke up and for the last 15 minutes played much better, controlled rugby. They scored a fine try finished off by Jon Goodin to narrow the gap to one score with still five minutes remaining.

But, despite pushing the home team all the way, Chelmsford held on.

Walden will be heading down to West London for a play-off game against the runners-up in London 2NW – either Twickenham or Old Priorians – to be played on May 3.

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