Saffron Walden on the brink of clinching league title
PUBLISHED: 11:25 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:25 07 April 2016
With two league games to go, the equation for Saffron Walden is quite simple; triumph in one encounter and the title is theirs.
Looking at the table prior to the home clash, the league leaders would have expected another victory but at a pressurised time of the season, anything can happen.
A Paul Marshall double added to by scores from Tom Hughes, Mark Kimberley, Paul Marshall, Andy Lancaster, Vili Navia and Tom Price handed the hosts a professional win.
Fly-half Hughes side-stepped a couple of tackles to crash over the try-line. Full-back Tom Price converted to put Walden up by seven points.
Soon after the restart, some loose play by Walden saw Romford hit back as they scored wide out to narrow the gap to 7-5.
This was the wake-up call Walden needed and they proceeded to tighten up their defence and on the 15-minute mark, they worked the ball back into the Romford half.
After a couple of phases from the forwards they suddenly switched play to the blindside where outside centre Kimberley found acres of space and coasted over for Walden’s second try.
The forwards were working well, debutant hooker Ryan Brown especially on top form, as both the scrum and line-out were executed superbly, giving good ball to the Walden backs.
Eight minutes later, some clean ball was fed out once again to Kimberley who made a break and with the full back to beat, he offloaded to scrum-half Marshall who out-paced the cover to get the next try for 19-5.
The bonus-point try came from some good interplay between Price and inside centre Miles who got the ball to within five metres of the try-line. The pair set up a ruck and the ball was fed out to second row Lancaster who dived over.
Romford were rewarded with the last play of the half when they kicked a penalty into the corner and from the resulting five-metre line-out, they drove over in the corner to leave the half-time score at 26–10.
Some good defence by the visitors kept Walden out for the first 10 minutes of the second half but gradually Walden’s dominance told and once again another good break by Hughes saw him with just the full back to beat and yet again it was Marshall on his shoulder to take the final pass to cap a man of the match performance with his second try.
Walden’s sixth try was probably the finest move of the game. The Walden forwards and backs combined with some good interplay leaving Kimberley to offload to left winger Navia as he cut in from the outside to score, marking his return to first-team rugby after missing half of the season.
Despite being down to 14 men Romford never gave up and scored their third try with five minutes left.
Walden got the final try as Price went under the posts with the last play of the game to stretch the lead to 32 points.
They now have a week off before travelling to basement club Basildon a week on Saturday (April 16) for their penultimate game.