Ipswich coach didn’t believe news of Chelmsford beating Saffron Walden

Ipswich Rugby Club

Ipswich Rugby Club - Credit: Archant

When the news came in from Chelmsford that Saffron Walden had been turned over, Ipswich coach Johnny Breedt didn’t believe it.

As it turned out, the north Essex side’s 39-31 victory against the league leaders meant that Ipswich’s professional 39-19 win at Holt was enough for them to seal the London 2 North league title, and promotion, with one game to spare.

“After the game, the official results normally come in at between 5.30-6pm,” said Breedt.

“One of our committee members decided to phone Chelmsford straight after the game and came back with the news that they had defeated Saffron Walden.

“Everyone went mad but I was a bit sceptical and Chelmsford have had a habit of playing tricks on us and being jokers over the years.

“Once the result eventually came through it didn’t sink in and the Holt officials probably thought there was something wrong. We just stood there staring at each other, it was all a bit surreal and everyone was in shock.”

In the weeks leading up to the game, Breedt highlighted the importance of the Holt game and stressed that the game in Norfolk could go a long way to deciding the lead.

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With Saffron Walden having won there the week before, the pressure was on. However, it was Chelmsford that ended up having a big say in the destination of the title.

That shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise though, given they had already accounted for Ipswich at Coronation Park this season – one of only two defeats the Suffolk side had suffered, the other being at Saffron Walden.

“We were 19-11 ahead at half-time there but they are a good side and came out in the second half and beat us,” Breedt added.

“They know how to play their pitch, they are good down the slope, and they did us a massive favour.”

The omens weren’t looking great for Ipswich when Holt took a fifth-minute lead after some early pressure, but as the Suffolk side settled into the game, confidence grew and Ryan Potkins scored the first of his two tries.

Carlton Littlechild and Tim Hopkins added to the score before the break with James Denham adding a conversion, both scores coming after the forwards set up some good phases before unleashing the backs.

Ipswich started the second half well and centre Mark Broughton went over to make the score 22-5, before Holt scored soon after with a catch and drive from a lineout to close the gap.

The hosts then threw everything at Ipswich and only well organised and determined defence kept the home side from scoring.

Gaps then began to appear in Holt’s previously resolute defence and Potkins exploited this fully when he got his hands on the ball and attacked from deep to score his second try.

Holt rallied again and scored a penalty-try after the referee deemed Ipswich to have collapsed a drive.

With 20 minutes to go, Ipswich knew it was vital they scored next and man of the match, Chris Blom offloaded to Simon Uzokwe who scored in the corner.

Ipswich brought on fresh legs and young prop Adam Sawyer made an immediate impact.

His pressure resulted in a turnover ball which was released to the backs for Mark Broughton to score his second try of the game.

“The body is sore, the head is sore and it’s still a bit surreal,” said skipper Blom. “I never imagined there would be so many happy faces on our bus journey home.”

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