Saffron Walden squeeze past Ipswich but relinquish London 2NE top spot to Diss
PUBLISHED: 10:41 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:48 14 January 2016
This tight, attritional triumph in Suffolk offered a very different turn of events to Saffron Walden's previous three victories.
However, Mark Kimberley’s try, converted by Tom Price, was the only difference between the visitors and Walden last Saturday.
The recent rain and occasional showers during the match meant the pitch was soft in places which made Walden’s normal running game difficult.
Walden started off brightly and for the first 20 minutes the play was mostly in the Ipswich half but, despite some good runs, the gaps just weren’t opening up and the visitors were kept out.
A couple of quickly-taken penalties made no difference as the Ipswich defence held firm.
Although Walden looked most likely to score, the final pass did not quite go to hand, an occasional dropped ball or a good Ipswich tackle meant there was no score for the first 25 minutes.
Finally the Walden pressure told as Ipswich passed the ball down the line only 30 metres out from their own try-line. Centre Matt Dawson was alert and intercepted, headed towards the line with just the full-back to beat and timed his pass perfectly to fellow centre Kimberley who out paced the cover to go under the posts.
Tom Price playing at fly half converted for 7-0.
The away side remained in control for the rest of the half but there were no further scores as would be the story for the rest of the game.
After the half-time break, Ipswich now with the elements in their favour, came out strongly and Walden, having had a couple of injuries, were now playing with flankers on both wings. To their credit both Andrew Lancaster and Matt Howe did not look out of place.
Both teams had good phases of play and on two occasions the home side looked likely to score. However, some superb last-ditch defence kept them out.
Firstly, a tackle knocked the ball out of the attackers’ hand and a few minutes later, the covering defence scrambled back, stopping a good break with both the ball and player held up just before the try-line. Both resulted in Walden scrums.
The visitors’ much-improved scrum safely secured the ball enabling Walden to clear their lines.
It was during the last 10 minutes that Walden looked most likely to add to their lead but by then thoughts of the bonus-point win had faded and they were happy to play out the time deep inside the Ipswich half.
Man-of-the-match went to hooker Sam Eardley.
Next up is a top-of-the-table clash with Diss at Henham this Saturday. Kick-off 2pm.