LONDON LEAGUE DIVISION TWO NORTH EAST: Saffron Walden 19 Sudbury 0
Sudbury suffered their second defeat in two weeks at a side in Saffron Walden who started the day one place below them in the table.
With five regular players being unavailable or injured, it was always going to be a tough day for Graham Richard’s charges.
The Suffolk side’s director of rugby was left with no option but to blood some of the Colts who acquitted themselves well under the circumstances, particularly as they were playing in key positions.
The game was played in driving rain which was not conducive to flowing rugby and led to many handling errors throughout the match from both sides.
The home side kicked off and immediately applied pressure to the Sudbury defence, keeping them pinned in their own 22 for the first 10 minutes of the half. But the defence held firm, surviving lineout and scrums. Seven minutes in the Walden pack crossed the line only to be held up.
The home pressure continued until a lineout mid-way in the Sudbury 22 saw Walden ship the ball right to left across to score wide for a 5-0 lead after 17 minutes of play.
For the first half-hour it was all Saffron Walden, but then Sudbury rallied and worked themselves back into the game.
The cold and damp was playing its part and Sudbury failed to complete any of the attacks they mounted, mainly due to handling errors and good defence by the home side.
They maintained their momentum until half-time and with only five points separating the teams were still in with a chance.
The second half started much as the first, with a big push by Walden, leading to them scoring and converting to stretch the lead.
Sudbury fought hard to stay in the game but were outgunned by the more experienced side who again enjoyed the lion’s share of territorial advantage and possession throughout the half.
A bonus point was always a possibility should Sudbury be able to string one good move together, until eight minutes before the final whistle when Saffron Walden scored again from close range and converted to seal the game.
Sudbury should not be disheartened by the loss though; it was a reasonable performance in appalling conditions against a good, well-drilled side and was a steep learning curve and tough introduction to first team rugby for the youngsters.