Walden return to winning ways

PUBLISHED: 13:13 09 March 2011

Andrew Smith tackles man and ball

Andrew Smith tackles man and ball

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SAFFRON Walden returned to winning ways in impressive style in the annual clash with local rivals Shelford.

U14 Rugby Saffron Walden 20 Shelford 14

SAFFRON Walden returned to winning ways in impressive style in the annual clash with local rivals Shelford.

Having shaken off the disappointment of last week’s defeat at Huntingdon, Walden began with a much improved display in the forwards, setting the platform for the backs to excel.

Early exchanges were even with both sides probing in attack and showing robust defensive capabilities. Walden struck the first blow on 16 minutes following a typically rampaging Noah Finch run. Shelford were penalised for handling in the ruck 10 metres from their own line. Quick thinking scrum-half Dan Rust tapped straight away and fed Andrew Smith who crossed the line with several would-be tacklers in his wake. Rust stepped up to convert and the score was 7-0.

Within two minutes, Shelford came back after Walden were slow to react to a penalty conceded in a similar position at the other end. With the try converted, it was 7-7, fairly indicating an evenly matched game.

On 23 minutes, Walden scored again. The backs displayed excellent handling in biting cold conditions, swept the ball first out to the left wing, and then, after several phases, out to the right. George Rains, moved to Wing for this game, received the ball at pace to touch down in the corner.

Forwards Matt Holden, Gareth Lolley and John Clark worked hard in defence to ensure Walden didn’t concede. On half time, their hard graft was rewarded. Dominic Fanning kept up his try tally, finishing off several phases of forward play on the left to make the score 17-7. Walden were in the driving seat.

In the second half, Shelford began to put together good handling moves, and after 22 minutes broke down the left and to dive over and then convert. But Walden showed their game winning mentality and stepped up a gear. Jesper Walker eventually sealed it when he stroked the ball over for three points.

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