Champions Saffron Walden finish season with a flourish
PUBLISHED: 10:38 28 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 28 April 2016
Danny Hunter’s Saffron Walden ended their title-winning campaign with another Henham victory, this time over a battling Holt side.
The hosts were desperate to finish the season with a flourish with a bumper crowd to celebrate the side’s promotion.
In the sixth minute Walden forwards and backs combined with some great controlled rugby. After several phases an overlap was created on the right for winger Adam Miles to open the scoring wide out.
Walden were dominating all areas of the game and winning good ball in the scrum but Holt’s defence held firm for another 20 minutes but eventually the pressure told.
Flanker Matt Holden charged over under the posts for an easy conversion for full back Tom Price to make it 12-0.
Walden kept the intensity up and on the half-hour mark they won a penalty 40 metres out. It was taken quickly before Holt had time to re-group and a couple of passes later the ball was fed out to Miles who out-paced the covering defence to once again score in the corner.
On the stroke of half-time sloppy defending and a penalty allowed Holt to get the ball down-field and into the Walden 22, scoring a well-worked try out wide to leave the interval score 17-5.
Any hope Holt had of a comeback were quickly dispelled as Walden received the ball from the kick-off and booted it long and high to clear.
Unfortunately for Holt the ball was spilled and second row James Gosden and No.8 Brad Baker were quickest to react, combining for Baker to score Walden’s bonus-point try.
For the next 30 minutes the game was pretty even as Walden’s makeshift front row began to tire.
This allowed Holt to have more of the ball but some fine defence kept the visitors at bay. Walden, to their credit, battled hard, showing good character in the circumstances with both the league and the match already won.
Walden also used the bench to good effect and it was one of the substitutes who scored the last try of the game with only a few minutes remaining.
Winger Vili Navia received the ball and sidestepped two players and dived over the line leaving the final score at 27-5.
Another fine victory with Walden eight points clear at the top of the table. They now look forward to a tour to Belgium and Holland in a couple of weeks before having some much-needed time off.