Last-gasp heartbreak as Saffron Walden are beaten away at Chelmsford
- Credit: SAFFRON WALDEN RFC
Saffron Walden suffered late heartache as they fell to defeat away to Chelmsford.
In a game that swung first one way, then the other, it was a try and conversion on the last play that handed the hosts a 30-28 win in London North East Two.
Kicking off with the slope and wind in their favour Walden soon found themselves three points up when Chelmsford were caught holding on to the ball 25 metres out.
The home side hit back from a line-out with some good play along their backs putting them over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Walden regained the lead with two more penalties, the home team caught offside on both occasions but Chelmsford went into the break leading 15-9 after another try and penalty of their own when Walden were penalised for a high tackle in front of the posts.
In the second half it was Walden's turn to take the conditions out of the equation by keeping ball in hand, only using some clever return kicks by Mark Kimberly and Tom Price when absolutely necessary.
They got their first try of the game after 55 minutes. Strong running by the forwards set up quick ball for Walden's scrum half and man of the match Tommy Albright to pass it quickly down the line for Kimberly to go over in the corner.
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Price's conversion put them one point to the good and although the lead didn't last too long, a penalty restored the home side's advantage, Walden bagged try number two to go 23-18 in front with 18 minutes to go.
It was another well-worked score that was led by the forwards.
From a line-out, they worked the ball deep into the Chelmsford 22 and fittingly it was Nik Baker who finished the move off with a drive from the base of a ruck.
With 12 minutes to go it was all square but Walden thought they had pinched the win with four minutes to go.
Chelmsford tried to clear their lines from their own 22 and kicked long. However, the wind and the slope took it over Walden's own dead-ball line, meaning a scrum all the way back where the kick was taken.
And the forwards delivered again, winning the ball and getting it out to substitute Conor McCabe who ploughed over on the left wing with pace and strength beating the cover tackles.
Crucially though the conversion was missed and it led the to the heart-breaking moment.
A clearing kick from inside Walden's own 22 reached half-way but was gathered by Chelmsford and they returned it with interest, returning back from where it came.
Walden gave away a couple of penalties in desperation to hang on but it was to no avail as with almost time up Chelmsford managed to get the ball over the line with the relatively easy kick added to take the win.
A losing bonus point was one consolation for Walden as was the debut from 18-year-old centre Alfie Smyth, another player coming up from the club's youth set-up.