Rugby: Saffron Walden 29 Romford & Gidea Park 19
PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 December 2019
Saffron Walden went into the Christmas break on a winning note after a 29-19 success over London Two North East rivals Romford & Gidea Park.
Despite heavy morning rain, the pitch was in good condition as the sides met under the lights at Henham.
And in front of a big crowd after a well-attended Christmas vice president's lunch, the hosts had a strong breeze in their favour in the first half.
They took the lead when the ball was fed down the line from a scrum and winger Rob Booth went over by the posts for a converted try.
Captain Mark Kimberley added a penalty when Romford were caught with hands in a ruck and sustained pressure led to a second try, as full-back Conor McCabe joined the line and drew the last man before putting Booth over.
A penalty was then kicked to the corner to set up a lineout catch and drive, with James Bovaird controlling the ball at the back of the maul as the pack drove over for a converted try and 22-0 lead.
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Walden secured their bonus point just before half time when Villi Navia broke on the left and, when held up by two defenders, freed the ball to number eight Nik Baker to canter over unopposed for a 29-point lead.
Park took advantage of the elements after the restart but took 15 minutes to open their account with a pushover try from a five-metre scrum.
A second converted try followed three minutes later, from a close-range ruck, but some great Walden defending denied them during another spell of pressure.
Good interplay between Kimberley and Booth went to waste as a kick did not go as hoped and Park scored a third try five minutes from time.
The conversion was missed, though, to leave Walden still two scores ahead and the home side controlled possession in the closing stages with sensible pick and drives.
Victory leaves Walden in eight place with a trip to Stowmarket on their return on January 11.
The club are always on the lookout for new players for their first team and Saxons, who play in Eastern Counties One West.
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