Home defeat leaves Walden's hopes of avoiding the drop hanging by a slender thread
PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 March 2018
Saffron Walden suffered a 36-14 defeat at home to Old Haberdashers that all but confirmed a bottom-three finish in London One North.
Old Haberdashers have a strong pack and were dominant in the scrums, especially in the first half as hosts had to work hard to compete.
Walden gave away a couple of penalties, which the visitors kicked into the 22 and from the lineout, they drove over the line to for the first try.
The home side made a couple of good attacks during the next 15 minutes, but could not get on the board.
Haberdashers made a break and worked the ball deep into Walden territory and forced the hosts to concede a five-metre scrum, from which the visitors scored a converted try to move 12-0 ahead.
Walden now had their best period of the game, forcing their rivals onto the back foot, making them give away several penalties at the break down, which eventually to a yellow card.
The hosts used their man advantage to good affect when they attacked on the blind side.
Another penalty five metres out was quickly taken and a pass out to the wing was deliberately knocked on, but flanker James Gosden was alert to collect, before going over in the corner, with Tom Price converting.
Soon after the restart, Haberdashers were restored to 14 men and played some great rugby to score three unanswered tries to take the game away from Walden at 31-7.
To their credit, the hosts’ heads did not go down and they managed one more score as Matt Holden successfully chased a kick, before touching down.
Haberdashers scored once more on the final play of the game to add gloss to their triumph.
This leaves Walden third from bottom in the league, 15 points behind Ruislip in the table.
With a maximum of 15 points left to play for, it leaves Walden in a seemingly-impossible position.
However, they can be proud of their two seasons at London One North, the highest level the club has played at.
Were it not for several long term injuries suffered during the course of the campaign, things might have panned out differently.
Instead, Walden will now start planning for next season at London Two North level, where they will look to challenge for an immediate return.