Brave Saffron Walden make point after pushing leaders all the way in slender defeat

PUBLISHED: 16:25 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 06 December 2018

The new rugby season is well underway (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The new rugby season is well underway (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Saffron Walden were edged out by London Two North East leaders Woodford 22-19 in their last home game of 2018.

The hosts were hoping for a better performance after a string of bad results, but the visitors were first on the scoreboard with a try from a lineout catch and drive move, which was converted.

Walden were struggling in the scrums and Woodford had most of the ball and territory in the first quarter, scoring a second converted try on 20 minutes as they broke through the centres to score under the posts.

At this point, the hosts could have caved in, but they gradually got back into the game with some good defensive work.

On the half-hour mark Woodford again worked their way deep inside the 22 and looked to set up an overlap on the right but the pass was read by Paul Marshall who intercepted and raced the length of the field to score Walden’s first points of the day to make it 14-5 at half time.

The second half was a different story, as great pressure by the home team led to a penalty that was kicked to the corner.

It looked like Walden were setting up for a driving maul from the lineout, but number eight Nik Baker peeled off the back to catch the visitors by surprise and dived over the line to make it 14-10.

Three minutes later Walden forced Woodford to stray offside and full-back Tom Price kicked a long range penalty to cut the gap to just one point.

And they took the lead before the hour mark when more good work at the scrum led to another penalty in front of the posts which Price converted.

This spurred the visitors into action and they set up a series of phases to drive into Walden’s 22, then passed the ball out wide and put their right winger over in the corner to make it 19-16.

Walden equalised from another penalty when Woodford were penalised for hands in the ruck with 10 minutes to go, but a stray pass was intercepted and Woodford made good ground into the home half to win a penalty of their own to move 22-19 up.

Try as they might Walden could not score any further points and had to settle for a losing bonus point but showed a lot of heart in pushing the leaders all the way.

With some players looking to return they can take confidence into the two away games at South Woodham Ferrers and Cantabs before the Christmas break.

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