Kimberley notches five tries as Saffron Walden seal London 2NE title in style
- Credit: Archant
Saffron Walden have been crowned London 2NE champions with one game to spare after a 44-12 victory over bottom club Basildon on Saturday.
The visitors required just one victory from their final two games to ensure the title and with a trip to winless Basildon one of those two encounters, they were confident that this was to be their year.
Indeed it was as five tries from Mark Kimberley and individual efforts from Tom Price, David Patch and Adam Miles.
Any nerves were soon dispelled when after only three minutes Walden scored their first of eight tries.
Deep inside Basildon territory, the half-back pairing of scrum-half Paul Marshall and No.10 Tom Hughes spotted an overlap on the blind side and some quick hands saw centre Kimberley go over in the corner.
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Basildon were trying to slow it down at every opportunity, but despite this understandable tactic they were unable to cope with Walden’s pace.
Kimberley was once again on the end of a flowing move to score his second to put Walden 10 points up.
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With a quarter of the game gone and the backs and forwards combining to set up a ruck eight metres out, it was second row Andrew Lancaster who benefitted from a simple one-out pass to dive over the line. Fullback Price converted to put Walden 17 points in front.
The next try came on the half hour mark when left winger Patch received the ball 40 metres out and went round his opposite number and then shrugged off two more tackles to get the ball over in the corner for the bonus-point try.
Basildon were working hard and managed to turn the ball over when Walden were trying to run out of defence and some determined running gave them their first try to leave the half-time score at 22-7.
Walden were quickly into their game early into the second half and it was not long before they had the scoreboard ticking over as right winger Miles found himself on the end of a flowing move to go over in the corner.
Two further tries by centre Kimberley, the first came after using his pace to beat the covering defence to dot the ball down. Then he combined with substitute Ben Nash to open up the defence, running round under the posts to make the conversion easier for Tom Hughes and Walden were 39-7 ahead.
Fifteen minutes from the end Basildon managed their second try as their forwards powered their way over from close range.
But inevitably it was Walden and Kimberley who had the last say in the game as he scored his fifth try of the game and Walden’s eighth with only a few minutes left on the clock.
The promotion leaves the club at their highest point since league rugby began in the late 1980’s.