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1st XV - Match centre

Eton Manor
Saffron Walden
Sat 21 Apr 15:00 - London & SE Division - London 1 North Full time

Much changed team gain try Bonus points away at Eton Manor

After a disappointing start, new combinations come together to score 5 tries in another encouraging performance.

Walden travelled down to Eton Manor for the last league game of the season on a warm afternoon. This was the mirror fixture of the first game and it was noted that only 6 players played in both games such is the injury list.
However this of course gives new opportunities for young players to show they're capable to step up to the first team for next seasons campaign in London 2.
The game started disastrously for Walden as Eton Manor ran amok in the first 12 minutes scoring 4 well worked tries as Walden's defence looked like is was left on the M11.
But on the next restart Walden managed to regain possession, after a couple of phases No.8 Nik Baker ran at pace deep into the home 22 managed to off load the ball in the tackle to left winger Oscar Norman popping up on the right to dive over the line. 28 – 5 after 16 mins.
Eton Manor scored 2 more tries taking the score out to 40 – 5 on the half hour mark and it looked ominous that Walden might be facing a very large defeat.
But gradually the new combinations came together in both attack and defence with Conor McCabe starting his first game in the pivotal fly half role growing in confidence. He put centre Jon Goodin through as he charged on to a crisp pass and crashed over for a converted try, 40 -12 with only 5 mins of the half remaining.
Walden attacked from deep again and the home side were soon on the back foot conceding a penalty and Walden kicked to the corner. From the line out Eton Manor once again gave another penalty away only 5 metres out. Quick thinking by Walden's man of the match Nik Baker, he took it quickly and was over the try line before the home team could react leaving the half time score at 40 – 17.
To really get back into the game Walden needed to score next but it was not to be and although the game looked much more even the home team scored the next 2 tries to stretch the lead out to 52 -17 with an hour played.
Walden never gave up epitomised by 2nd row Keith Thornicroft charging back in defence and tackling the ball carrier into touch 1 metre out to stop what looked like a certain try.
This seemed to galvanise the team and they had the better of the last 15 minutes of the game forcing Eton Manor to concede several penalties in their desperation to keep Walden out. The Referee lost patience and sent a player to the bin and Walden capitalised on the man advantage, firstly creating an overlap wide out to allow Norman to go over for his second and 5 minutes later he scored again with another determined effort as he received the ball 15 metres out, despite what looked like a good defensive line he managed to find a gap to get over the line. 52- 29.
Walden looked to score again from the kick off but it was not to be and Eton Manor turned the ball over and scored under the posts in the last play of the game to leave the final score at 59 -29.
Another heartening display after last weeks win over Old Priorians, being 35 points down after half an hour to 'win' the rest of the game showed great character.
Good performances all round especially to new half back combination Colts Keegan Diggons and Conor McCabe. Three other Colts put in great performances flanker Will Walker, winger Oscar Norman and Ed Smith coming off the bench.
One other special mention goes to Keith Thornicroft who is moving to Canada over the close season having willingly given his all to the club over the past few years he will be sorely missed, hopefully he will be in good voice on the Clubs Senior tour to Amiens in a months time.

We are always on the look out for new players to play either in the first team in London N2 or the Saxons (2nd team) in Eastern Counties 1West, if you are interested in joining our friendly club please contact either info@swrfc.co.uk or graham.marshall2@ntlworld.com

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