Back-to-back wins for Saffron Walden with dramatic Woodford victory

Saffron Walden Rugby Club in action (pic Jamie Pluck)

A late try saw Saffron Walden beat Woodford. - Credit: Archant

There was late drama as Saffron Walden made it back-to-back wins, beating promotion-chasing Woodford 20-17 in London Two North East.

With both the wind and the sun behind them in the first half, Walden used the condition to their advantage as they took an early lead.

With 22 minutes played, the home side had set up close to the Woodford try line and held on to the ball over several phases, before second row Joe Saych used his power to burst through and stretch over the line to put the ball down and make it 7-0.

With time running out in the first half, Woodford were penalised for hands in the ruck and centre Mark Kimberley stepped up to kick the penalty and send Saffron Walden into the break 10-0 ahead.

Woodford started the second half well and used the wind to kick the ball deep into Walden territory, finally finding an overlap to score in the corner, with the conversion narrowed the gap to 10-7.

The hosts put the pressure on again, and good work from both the forwards and backs saw a Woodford player knock the ball on, giving away a penalty which was successfully kicked to make it 13-7 with just 18 minutes to go.

The knock-on offender was also sin binned, but this did not deter the away side as they looked to battle back.

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They even managed a converted try with just under 10 minutes left to play to take a 14-13 lead, and Woodford looked to have secured victory when a penalty made it 17-13.

But Saffron Walden refused to be beaten as they turned the ball over from the restart and kept possession over a number of phases as they worked their way towards their opponents 22.

Saych, the man who opened the scoring, would be the one to drive over the line in a try that was a carbon copy of his first, and they held their nerve as the penalty was kicked, securing a hard-fought 20-17 win.

The result leaves Walden sixth in the table ahead of a trip to a struggling West Norfolk side who have won just once all season.

Then their final game of 2021 will see them host Cantabrigian, who sit just a place above in fifth.

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