Sudbury keep promotion hopes alive with victory over leaders, Saffron Walden
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Sudbury secured a vital 8-5 win against league leaders Saffron Walden on Saturday to keep their promotion hopes alive, moving from third to second in the league.
They were comprehensively beaten in the first encounter at Walden, but played superbly on Saturday to get revenge in 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 they took the first two line-outs with ease, but it was Walden who scored first after six minutes of play when they took first phase ball for Holden, who crossed the line.
Saffron were having the best of the territory and nearly scored again when they intercepted a loose pass but knocked on with a clear run.
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The hosts replied through Tom Summers, as he touched down mid-way through the half.
Walden’s attacks were littered with penalties and Sudbury were able to kick for relief but the visitors ran back, shipping the ball wide at every opportunity, testing the home defence.
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However the score remained level, 5-5, at the break.
As the second half started Sudbury were working well in the set pieces, but it was the visitors who enjoyed territorial advantage.
Saffron kept Sudbury under pressure, but their defence held firm and the visitors 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. They were lucky not to be given a yellow card.
Sudbury eventually gave away a penalty themselves, in front of the posts, but Walden rejected the easy points and took a quick tap, a decision they would live to regret, as the hosts regained possession and cleared their lines.
Sudbury scored as the result of two more penalties. Justin Burton took cleanly at the lineout and the rolling maul was pulled down to give Summers the match-winning kick after 25 minutes of the second half.
As the match progressed, 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.