TWO NORTH EAST
Sudbury 8 Saffron Walden 5
Sudbury secured a vital win against league leaders Saffron Walden on Saturday to keep their promotion hopes alive.
They were comprehensively beaten in the first encounter at Walden, but played superbly on Saturday to get revenge in what was a very close fought game.
Walden chose to play down the slope and into the wind in the first half, so it was the home team who kicked off.
The first scrum was held by Sudbury and Sudbury took the first two lineouts with ease but it was Walden who scored first after six minutes of play when they took first phase ball for Holden to score.
Walden were having the best of the territory and nearly scored again when they intercepted a lose pass but knocked on with a clear run.
Sudbury replied through Tom Summers from a tap penalty in the 22 metre area and first phase ball for Summers to touch down half-way through the half.
Walden’s attacks were littered with penalties and Sudbury were able to kick for relief. But the visitors ran back at Sudbury, shipping the ball wide at every opportunity testing the Sudbury defence, but the score remained 5-5 at the break.
The home side were working well in the set pieces, but it was the visitors who enjoyed territorial advantage, keeping Sudbury under pressure.
But their defence held firm, and Walden gave away several penalties in their eagerness to score, at one point moving play from the Sudbury 22 to the Walden 22 as they conceded a number of consecutive penalties. And they were lucky not to be given a yellow card.
Sudbury eventually gave away a penalty themselves, in front of the posts, but Saffron Walden rejected the easy points and took a quick tap, a decision they would live to regret. The hosts were able to regain possession and cleared their lines.
Sudbury scored as the result of yet two more penalties. Justin Burton took cleanly at the lineout and the rolling maul was pulled down to give Tom Summers the match-winning kick after 25 minutes of the second half.
As the match progressed, the referee must have been suffering from shortness of breath from the continual use of his whistle.
The Sudbury pack worked hard in the set pieces to frustrate the opposition and for the last 10 minutes pressurised Walden but failed to improve on the score.
The final whistle produced a huge sigh of relief from the large crowd and jubilation from the players, who move into second in the league.