Walden beaten but performance against league leaders lights up gloomy afternoon
- Credit: MIKE EGERTON/PA
Saffron Walden may have fell to a 35-24 defeat at home to league leaders Stowmarket but their four-try bonus point was just rewards for a fine performance.
A good crowd had turned up at their Tiny Curtis Ground near Henham despite the weather and they were given quite the spectacle by both teams.
Walden had the elements against them in the first half but still had the best of the opening exchange.
Stout Stowmarket defence kept them out and it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a close range effort mid-way through the half.
The trickle then became a more concentrated flow with three more tries before half-time but it was on the stroke of the interval that Walden got their first score.
Quick thinking by Mark Kimberley from a penalty allowed him to break past a couple of defenders and chip the ball forward.
He was taken out though by a defender and the penalty try meant Walden turned round 22-7 down.
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They got the next try soon after the restart too, Kimberley going over again after another good kick chase forced the Stowmarket defence to fumble the ball 10 metres out.
Any thoughts they had of closing the gap further were thwarted by two more away tries but Walden knew they could still get something out of the game and an unconverted score five minutes from time set up the grandstand finish.
The restart was kicked into their 22 but good interplay between forwards and backs allowed them to march their way into Stowmarket territory.
A knock-on seemed to have deprived them of the opportunity but a superb turnover by James Bovaird forced a penalty with a minute remaining.
Walden took it quickly and after a couple of phases, they got the ball out to the left wing and into space for the bonus-point score.
The result leaves them fifth in the London Two North East table, five points behind Stowmarket at the top.
They have a mini break for a week before returning on October 16 to play second-place Ipswich at home.