Spirited Saffron Walden are not too Diss-appointed after a thrilling draw with rivals
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 November 2017
Saffron Walden showed great spirit to pick up three points from a 34-34 draw at London One North rivals Diss on Saturday.
They led 22-13 at half time and outscored their hosts by six tries to four, but had to come from behind to earn a share of the spoils.
A wet pitch made handling difficult for both teams in the first half, but Walden opened the scoring when Mark Kimberley found a gap to touch down in the corner after four minutes.
Diss hit back three minutes later with one of many strong runs by their influential number eight who broke a tackle and off loaded to put a team-mate over for a converted try and 7-5 lead.
And Walden were defending 30 metres out when Kimberley intercepted a pass and ran 70 metres to go under the posts to put his side back in front.
The forwards then got into the act when Walden kicked a penalty to the corner and a driving maul pushed Diss over the line with second row Matt Holden scoring to make it 17-7.
But fly half Tom Hughes (rib) and Matt Holden (shoulder) had to be replaced and winger Paul Marshall tweaked a hamstring as he looked to break clear after intercepting a pass, before sending Ollie Webber over for the bonus-point try and a 22-7 lead.
Diss kicked two penalties late in the first half and their third try of the match cut the gap to two points on 50 minutes.
But Walden were still trying to play attacking rugby and from a penalty on their own 22 they took a quick tap to catch the hosts off guard and moved the ball to replacement winger Rob Booth, who made 50 metres before Adam Miles went over in the corner.
That made it 27-20 with 15 minutes left, but Walden had to bring back two of their injured players when others had to go off and Diss made inroads to level with a converted try.
The hosts took the lead with a try from a driving maul with only four minutes left, but Walden did not let their heads drop and a couple of fine runs by Kimberley and Miles took them upfield, before the forwards drove towards the line.
Marshall, now playing at scrum half, took the ball from the base of a ruck, handed off one player and spun out of another tackle to dive over near the posts to level.
Debutant Ned Potter was named man of the match for Walden, who play host to Brentwood on Saturday.