Chelmsford extinguish Walden fightback

Tom Hughes is congratulated by Eddie Brown after his try. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Tom Hughes is congratulated by Eddie Brown after his try. Picture: Jamie Pluck - Credit: Archant

London Two North East leaders Chelmsford proved to be too strong for a depleted Saffron Walden side on Saturday.

Disrupted by last minute changes, Walden could only watch as Chelmsford carved out a 13-point lead at half-time. A spirited comeback saw Walden come within five points of their opponents, but officiating blunders allowed Chelmsford to register a 44-34 win, their 17th win of the campaign.

Walden were in for an uphill battle when Adam Miles had to pull out and Eddie Brown moved to centre. The size of the task was made abundantly clear 20 minutes into the game as Chelmsford raced into a 18-0 lead.

Paul Marshall finished off a sweeping move to peg Chelmsford back but the league leaders restored their advantage with another converted try.

Walden had the last say in the half when, following a break by Ben Nash, Tom Hughes wriggled over the line to close the half-time gap to 25-12.

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Continuing where they left off, Walden started brightly after the break and flanker Sam Eardley dotted down after a driving maul. Ten minutes later, Tom Price kicked a penalty after Chelmsford strayed offside.

Then came the game changing moment. With Chelmsford trying to clear the ball from their 22, the officials missed a knock-on. Walden utilised the turnover to send Paul Marshall over but play was called back for a penalty against the hosts.

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Walden were reduced to 14 for 10 minutes in the aftermath of the decision and Chelmsford captialised to score two converted tries and kill the contest.

Restored to a full complement, Walden replied with 14 points, first from James Gosden and then Price to reduce the deficit back to five points.

With momentum in their favour and possession of the ball, Walden worked their way into Chelmsford territory only to have victory snatched away. A loose pass was intercepted by the fly-half and run back the other way to seal a 44-34 victory for Chelmsford.

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