Walden begin new campaign with entertaining victory over Romford & Gidea Park

Saffron Walden Rugby Club face the camera at the start of a new season

Saffron Walden Rugby Club face the camera at the start of a new season - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden began the new London Two North East season with an entertaining 36-25 win over Romford & Gidea Park.

They took the lead early on as Paul Marshall’s kick was collected by Ben Stapleton, before the ball was moved to Vili Navia to jink over the line.

The visitors hit back with a well-worked try in the corner, then added a penalty to take the lead, but Navia touched down in the corner to make it 12-8.

Three minutes later Walden turned the ball over in the centre of the field and captain Mark Kimberley was put through a gap to score wide out to extend the lead to 17–8.

But Walden’s defence was soon tested and Romford scored two quick tries and a conversion to move 20-17 up after 23 minutes.

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The game finally started to settle down as both defences began to work a bit better, with Walden looking threatening wide out, and a great move down the right saw winger Adam Miles take the ball into space and pass to full-back Oscar Norman who sent Kimberley under the posts.

That put Walden 22-20 up at the break, but Park created an overlap on the right after the restart to go three points ahead.

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Walden were starting to gain the upper hand as they reverted to last year’s set-up with Marshall at scrum-half and Tom Price coming on as fly-half.

The pressure finally told as back row debutant Alex Packenham-Walsh used his strength to hold off two defenders and power over the line, with Price converting to make it 29-25.

This time Walden would not let the lead slip with good defence and good breaks by Adam Miles.

They made sure with 10 minutes left when great interplay between backs and forwards saw flanker Stapleton race over from 20 metres to complete the scoring.

Saffron Walden Saxons got the season off to a storming start with a 58-14 win over Cambridge thirds, who beat them 85-0 last season.

Centre Adam Clark produced a powerful finish after three minutes but Cambridge replied to take a 7-5 lead, before Walden scored four tries in 12 minutes.

Cambridge scored on the stroke of half time to make it 27-14 but Walden then ran away in the second half with five unanswered tries to seal a convincing win.

James Gosden claimed a hat-trick and Olly Webber a brace, with George Menhenick, Matt Howe, Gordon Leonard and Rob Booth also going over.

The firsts host Cantabs at Henham on Saturday as the Saxons travel to Cottenham Renegades (3pm).

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