Saffron Walden youngsters show grit in defeat to Wymondham

Saffron Walden Rugby Club have lost both of their games so far in 2022.

Saffron Walden Rugby Club have lost both of their games so far in 2022. - Credit: SAFFRON WALDEN RUGBY

Saffron Walden slipped to their second defeat of 2022 but the rugby club were still very proud of the efforts of their young squad.

The return from the Christmas break had begun with a 67-14 reverse away to leaders Ipswich and their first home game of the new year ended with Wymondham claiming a 20-0 success.

The unavailability of senior players has hit the Springate-based rugby club and forced them to call on less-experienced players.

But while the score on Saturday seems one-side, the club's director of rugby was still pleased with what he saw and what it promises for the future.

Neil Gaffan said: "Injuries have allowed us to field a young development team for the second week in a row preparing for the next and future seasons.

"When experienced players are fit again it will be great to let them guide the younger players on how to be more clinical at our level of the game.”

The first half belonged to Wymondham and they put their first points on the board after only five minutes as Walden gave away a penalty for offside in front of the posts.

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And for the next 15 minutes, Walden's young had to hold firm as attacking opportunities were limited, the visitors mostly on the front foot.

However, the pressure resulted in a few penalties being given away and eventually the referee lost patience, showing a yellow card to prop James Bovaird, who was having a good game in the front row, for pulling a Wymondham maul to ground.

And with a weakened defence, Wymondham found an overlap out wide to grab a converted try and a 10-point lead.

The hosts did start to push forward for the remainder of the half and they enjoyed their best spell in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.

The scrum was working well, winning all their ball and even turning over a couple of Wymondham put-ins, while the line-out saw the second row pairing of Archie Weeks and Joe Saych used their height and agility to win most of their own throws by captain Sam Eardley.

This provided the impetus for a few line-breaking runs most notable by Saych, Conor McCabe and Tommy Albright and left wing Luke Wharton showed great pace, nearly breaking through on a couple of occasions.

Walden were unlucky not to score in this period with the final pass not quite going to hand while some last-ditch defence also thwarted the hosts.

Inevitably Wymondham finally sealed the win in the last 10 minutes with a break sending them clear to score under the posts.

A penalty brought the final points.

The result leaves them in seventh position, nine points behind their opponents in sixth but also nine points clear of Southwold in eighth.

They have two away games up next, the first a trip to Wanstead on Saturday.