Walden bounce back to send Norwich rivals packing and climb up to fourth in table
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 March 2019
Saffron Walden produced a strong finish to claim a 29-22 win over Norwich in London Two North East.
The visitors had the wind in their favour in the first half and scored a try in the corner on six minutes.
But Walden soon levelled as good play by the forwards created an overlap and full-back Ivan Karsten joined the line to send number eight Brad Baker over in the corner.
Norwich scored again straight from the restart, exploiting a lack of concentration by Walden to go over in the corner and they had the majority of possession and territory in the lead up to half time.
Determined defence kept them out until the last play of the half when Norwich scored a converted try from a catch and drive move to go 17-5 up.
Walden made a quick start to the second half as fly-half Tom Price gathered the restart and sent a kick deep into Norwich’s half.
When the lineout was only cleared to the 22, Walden won ball off the top of their lineout and centre Adam Clark ran on at pace to go under the posts and cut the gap to five points.
Norwich rallied with a good move ont he left as their winger broke tackles for a try in the corner to make it 22-12.
But Walden began to dominate and Ben Stapleton scored after neat work on the left and Karsten converted from wide to close the gap to three points.
The home side went close on a couple of occasions after that and the pressure told when Paul Marshall took a quick tap penalty and raced for the line, stretching to touch down after being half-tackled.
Another fine conversion by Karsten took the lead out to four points at 26-22 with only six minutes to play and Walden regathered the kick-off and kept the ball well, with the forwards gradually moving upfield with good drives around the rucks.
With three minutes left, another long kick by Price led to a knock-on and Walden scrum, with Norwich conceding a penalty from a subsequent ruck to allow Karsten to slot the kick and complete the scoring.
The win moved Walden back up to fourth, as Ed Hepworth took the man of the match award on his debut, and they face Cantabs in a Cambridgeshire Cup semi-final on Saturday (2.30pm), while the Saxons play at Cottenham Renegades.