Walden finish season in fourth place
Saffron Walden 54 Harlow 19 SAFFRON Walden Rugby Club ended their league season on a high on Saturday by defeating Harlow. The hosts victory at Henham saw them finish the London Two North East campaign in fourth spot. Captain Dave Philp said: I
Saffron Walden 54
SAFFRON Walden Rugby Club ended their league season on a high on Saturday by defeating Harlow.
The hosts' victory at Henham saw them finish the London Two North East campaign in fourth spot.
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Captain Dave Philp said: "It was a good way to finish and it was a good all round performance. Top five was what we were looking for at the start of the season so to finish fourth shows we have definitely progressed.
"There were just a few games we should have closed out that we didn't and that's disappointing as we could have been pushing for second or third. Overall I'm quite pleased with the way it's gone though.
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"The seconds and thirds have both won their leagues so it's been a good season for the club as a whole."
Harlow were first to score after three minutes as they caught Walden on the back foot and fed the ball down the line, creating an over lap for the winger to go over in the corner for an unconverted try.
It took another 10 minutes for Walden to find their feet and from a five-man line out 25 metres from the try line the ball was fed down the line and number eight Jamie Beswick came on to it at pace in the centre.
He was unstoppable as he broke a tackle and touched down under the posts. Hughes converted to put Walden into the lead.
The hosts continued to attack and earned a scrum eight metres out and this time Beswick picked up from the base and charged over for his second try, once again converted.
Walden stretched their lead two minutes later when fly-half Hughes broke through the Harlow defence and off loaded to full-back Dave Philp who out paced the covering defence to score in the corner for 19-5.
The home side then went to sleep and allowed Harlow to get back into the match when they once again broke down the outside and the winger went round under the posts to reduce to deficit with a converted try on 26 minutes.
This was the wake up call Walden needed and they raised their intensity and started to defend much better. The last score of the half was from a scrum 35 metres out when scrum-half Will Brown picked the ball up and raced through the covering defence to score under the posts.
Two quick tries at the beginning of the second half sealed the victory for Walden.
The first was scored three minutes in when the ball was passed down the line, centre Mark Kimberley broke down the wing and he chipped in field and Philp was the first to the ball and he touched down under the posts to put Walden 33-12 ahead.
The next try was the second for Brown as he supported another break this time by Walden's loose forwards who gained good ground, he received a pass and strolled over to put the game beyond Harlow's reach at 40-12.
Much to Harlow's credit they never gave up and were next to score when they won a penalty and kicked to the corner, from the line out they set up a maul and drove over the line for a converted try.
Walden ended the game on a high with two late tries. The first by prop Stephen Muggeridge as he ran a good 35 yards albeit, without the ball, as he benefited from a bit of generosity by centre Ben Lockyer who made the break and gave the pass under the posts for the prop to score.
Philp fittingly rounded off his and the team's excellent league season with his hat-trick try with two minutes to go leaving the final score at 54-19.
Walden now have a week off before the County Cup final against Wisbech on May 1.
"We have not won that for 23 years so it will be nice to win it to crown off the season," said Philp.