Second-half revival earns praise but falls short for Saffron Walden

A view of the Gilbert Guinness Six Nations match ball before the Guinness Six Nations match at Stadi

Saffron Walden battled back in the second half but couldn't snatch the win against Chelmsford. - Credit: MIKE EGERTON/PA

A second-half fightback raised spirits but was not enough for Saffron Walden to clinch victory over Chelmsford.

They trailed 29-0 just before half-time in the London Two North East clash but rallied after the break, eventually going down to a 36-28 defeat.

After suffering a narrow defeat at Chelmsford earlier in the season, losing to the very last kick, Walden are gradually getting back to something like full strength and they hoped to turn the tables.

Straight from the kick off though, the visitors took advantage of some poor defence and eventually scored in the corner.

Chelmsford had at this stage dominance at the set piece and made good use of the ball as Walden simply could not get any meaningful possession.

They ran in three further tries by the midway point of the half, claiming a bonus-point in the process.

And although Walden gradually settled, it was Chelmsford who again scored next, going 29-0 in front with five minutes of the half remaining.

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The last play of the first period though suddenly changed the complexion somewhat.

Walden had earned some time on the ball and with good interplay down the left, Mark Kimberley combining with Morgan Cook, they won a penalty deep in the Chelmsford half.

That went to the corner and when the driving maul from the line-out was stopped short, Walden held their nerve and James Bovaird used his power to force his way over.

The hosts shuffled their pack after the interval, Nik Baker going to prop and Tom Pryke making a welcome return from injury at Number 8.

It gave Walden more joy in the scrums and around the park although two yellow cards hampered their recovery.

They survived that 15 minutes, five of which had them playing with just 13, and even added another score, Kimberley reaching his own kick ahead to get the try.

With Walden restored to 15 they looked really good and five minutes later they had narrowed the gap to just eight, Baker finding a gap from close range to go under the posts.

But crucially there was still one try in Chelmsford and they chose this moment to snatch it, and the victory.

There was still time though for Walden to get one bonus point with a fourth try, secured with five minutes left.

They managed to kick to the corner and from a good line-out drive, they sucked in the defence to give winger Max Skingsley just enough space to dive over in the corner.

A spokesman for the team said: "It was a great comeback in the second half and we can now look forward to a run of games against teams in the bottom half of the table."

Man of the match for Walden was second row Mitchell Dore for some determined carries in the second half.

The result leaves them seventh in the table, with Chelmsford third. Walden are next in action away to 10th-placed Diss on Saturday.