Captain eyes a top five finish
Saffron Walden RFU 20 Harlow 17 Saffron Walden Rugby Club captain Paul Marshall has set his sights on a top five finish after seeing his side defeat promotion chasing Harlow on Saturday. Walden withstood a late fightback from the Rams at Henham to take t
Saffron Walden RFU 20
Saffron Walden Rugby Club captain Paul Marshall has set his sights on a top five finish after seeing his side defeat promotion chasing Harlow on Saturday.
Walden withstood a late fightback from the Rams at Henham to take the points in the London Three North East "I was very pleased with the performance," said Marshall. "We have four games against teams in and around us in the table before Christmas and it was important to begin the run of games with a victory at home.
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"They have a reputation of being physical, but they didn't seem to compete and their points came from our mistakes.
"We held out, which was pleasing and I don't mind if we win by 30 or three as long as we get the two points.
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"We are starting to fulfil our potential now and we are looking to finish in the top four or five.
"We have no fear and Saturday's win has given us even more confidence."
Harlow started the stronger at Henham and spent the first 10 minutes camped in the Walden half, but were unable to breach the hosts' defence.
Walden withstood this initial onslaught and gradually got back into the game, taking the lead after 15 minutes.
Some good pick and drives and some loose play by Harlow allowed prop Stephen Mugridge to bulldoze over from 10 metres out for a converted try.
The hosts added to their tally following a scrum when scrum-half Sheldon Revell managed to slip the ball to flanker Andrew Lancaster, who broke through a gap in the defence to go over under the posts, with Tom Hughes converting.
Walden were reduced to 10 men for 10 minutes when Stephen Mugridge was shown the yellow card after an infringement in a rolling maul.
Harlow made this numerical advantage count when they scored an unconverted try in the corner, through Stuart Wilkins following yet another kick and rolling maul.
Walden's 14 men played superbly for the next 10 minutes denying the visitors any chance to capitalise on their extra man, and adding to their advantage when Hughes kicked a drop goal from 30 metres out.
The hosts extended their advantage just before half-time when Hughes kicked a penalty after the Rams had been penalised for a high tackle.
Playing against the wind in the second half, Walden came out fighting, restricting Harlow's opportunities.
However, the visitors started their fightback after 73 minutes when Lee Harron took a tap penalty 25 metres out beating the Walden defence and off loading to Nick Ford who went over under the posts.
The Rams further reduced the arrears minutes later when a clearance kick from Hughes was charged down and the bounce went Harlow's way and Ford scored an unconverted try.
However, Walden held firm in the closing stages to secure a well deserved victory over a strong Harlow side.
Harlow are without a game on Saturday, but the captain isn't too disappointed.
"It's good to have a week off as we have a lot of little injuries, which will be given time to clear up," said Marshall.
"It's a blessing in disguise really, with some big games coming up before Christmas.