Delight for Walden as they play conditions perfectly to claim first victory of year

PUBLISHED: 16:45 25 February 2020

Saffron Walden were given a guard of honour by the club's under-11s before their London Two North East match with Epping Upper Clapton

Saffron Walden were given a guard of honour by the club's under-11s before their London Two North East match with Epping Upper Clapton

Archant

After three narrow defeats in a row Saffron Walden finally broke their 2020 duck with a 27-22 success at home to Epping & Upper Clapton.

It was another game played with a gale blowing and this time straight down the ground but Walden overcame the tricky conditions, where the wind was so strong that any kicks out of hand would struggle to go 10 yards without boomeranging backwards, to claim a first victory since the Christmas break.

They faced the elements in the first half but by keeping ball in hand they did all the attacking in the first five minutes.

And quick ball off the back of a scrum 15 metres out went wide for left winger Ollie Webber to score.

Epping used the conditions well over the next 20 minutes to pin Walden back and it brought them a converted try and penalty.

The hosts levelled the scores when they held on to the ball over several phases of possession before going wide again to give Webber his second but with five minutes of the half remaining Epping scored their second try.

It looked like they would take a 17-10 lead into the break but crucially Walden once again narrowed the gap from the kick-off, calmly working it towards the line for Nik Baker to go over from close range.

With the wind behind them in the second period, most of the play took place in the visitors' half but some determined defence kept them out for 10 minutes.

Eventually the bonus-point try came though, second row Charlie Potter diving over to put Walden back in front at 20-17.

And they should have scored a couple more over the next 20 minutes but Ben Stapleton was unlucky to slip as he went past the last defender and Potter was held up over the line.

It took a moment of magic to effectively seal the game.

Fly-half Nick Dawson found Jon Goodin on his shoulder and after popping the ball to him, the centre broke two tackles and found himself in space behind the first row of defence.

A mazy 20-metre run followed to wrong foot both full-back and winger and send him over.

Mark Kimberley added the conversion and despite the last 10 minutes being more nervous than they needed to, Epping bagging another try key to that, Walden closed out the deserved victory.

They are back at home on Saturday against Holt.


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