Saffron Walden fight back to register first London One North in six games

PUBLISHED: 09:06 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 December 2016

Ivan Karsten scores a try for Saffron Walden. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Ivan Karsten scores a try for Saffron Walden. Picture: Jamie Pluck

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Ivan Karsten scored two tries as Saffron Walden extended their unbeaten league run to two games with this battling win at Henham on Saturday.

Having drawn at home to Thurrock the previous week the hosts’ quest for a first victory in five matches didn’t begin well as Priorians got on the scoresheet first in the seventh minute.

They won a scrum inside the Walden 22 and quickly passed down the line to the left winger who went over in the corner.

Following a well-taken conversion it was 7-0.

Ten minutes later they extended their lead when they gained a penalty in front of the posts to go 10 points ahead.

However, Walden were starting to get a grip on the game, with the pack having an advantage at the scrum.

Creating several opportunities OP’s were forced to give away a series of penalties inside their own 22 but Walden could not produce the try that their efforts deserved.

That was until five minutes from half-time when left winger Ben Nash crashed over in the corner after beating his opposite number.

Three minutes into the second half the visitors were caught offside 35 metres out in front of the posts and Walden elected to take the three points to narrow the gap as centre Karsten drilled the ball between the uprights.

A few minutes later Karsten put Walden ahead for the first time in the game, on the receiving end of a flowing move as backs and forwards joined to make a break.

He dived over the line and kicked a fine conversion to go ahead 15-10 in the 53rd minute.

Walden were dominating at this point and took another three points when Priorians were penalised for not rolling away 18-10.

With the gap widening the away side were forced to chase the game which played into Walden’s hands.

The home team were playing with controlled passion and were first to several loose balls.

On one of these occasions the ball was quickly fed out to full back Tom Price who raced through a gap into open territory and with winger Rob Booth in support he threw a dummy pass to wrong-foot his opposite number and dot the ball down in the corner.

Then with 10 minutes of the game left the visitors were deep inside the Walden half when yet another loose ball was picked up by Mark Kimberley who sprinted through towards the try line.

The Priorians full-back came across and tackled him just short of the try-line but Walden had players in support.

Captain and second row James Gosden was on hand to collect the ball and he went over to increase the lead to 28-10 securing the bonus point for four tries.

Walden had a player sin-binned late on for a tip tackle and down to 14 Priorians capitalised to go over for their second try to narrow the gap to 27 -17.

But Walden responded well and minutes later they turned the ball over passing it across to Karsten, now on the left wing.

He went round his opposite number and ran through the full-back to score in the corner restoring Walden’s three-score advantage.

Priorians did not give up and scored their third try using the extra man to find a gap in the Walden defence to complete the scoring.

Seventh-placed Walden travel to sixth-placed North Walsham in the league on Saturday.

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