U15's second in the Eastern Counties for second season in a row
Walden U15's travelled to North Walsham for the EC finals and finished second, an outstanding achievement after a superb season from the lads
Walden were in the EC finals again with the same opposition as last year, Colchester and North Walsham. Although this year we had the long journey up to Norfolk. we were to play 15 min halves, so no room for error in what were likely to be close run games. First up was the home team, in what was an attritional, edgy encounter in very wet conditions, making ball movement much harder than we prefer. Both teams edged territory with well placed kicks, returned with some good handling in the wet conditions. Our line out was not firing but the scrum held firm, out breakdown work had the edge but it was a case of small margins. In the second half our line speed and shape improved which added pressure on the opposition ball. We worked deep into their half and won a well earned penalty from the pressure. With 5 mins left the lads opted to take the points instead of risking a lineout against Walsham's strong pack. Alex slotted the 3 points but from the start Walsham head learned a big lesson and totally changed their play into a tight forwards game of pick and go - and they were very good at this! They play with accuracy and patience to slowly move up field close to our line. A silly error led to a penalty and instead of bagging a simple kick they went for the corner and an attempt for the try. Walden had been utterly dogged in our defence, using chp tackles and reloading in defence to keep Walsham at bay. In the last few minutes it was our most impressive defensive set. Time after time we tackled and held off the surges from the Walsham forwards. With one last attempt they forced over the line but the referee was right next to the play and said the ball was held up. Final whistle and a win 3-0. What a game. North Walsham were the most fantastic team and played in the best spirit. On losing they were so well mannered, they had every right to feel utterly fed up but the lads were impressively behaved. Proper rugby, lovely people, great hosts.
Next up after a brief rest was Colchester. They have a very strong squad, full of talent nad it showed. Walden looked tired after the Walsham battle and went down three converted tries in the first half. two were well crafted, one a risk too far from Walden in the wrong place - just in front of our try line! 21-0 at half time and shortly after we lost Hugo and Tom to injury, Alex B off, Finn off, but a strong squad which played the second half with such pride and passion we were delighted. solid work up the pitch, more accurate ball movement and good support showed we were in the game. The ball moved out down the line, Fraser spotted a gap and boom, we had scored with Alex adding the extra 2 points. 21-7 and so it remained , a super end to the day and to our season.
Throughout the day all they lads played so well. Josh was incredible at 15, catching kicks, returning well and retaining the ball, all under huge pressure. Ryan was immense all day, strong in the scrum, first to virtually every break down and using his power so well. Fraser was solid in the midfield, securing a lot of ball at the breakdown with good support play, he was a massive player all day. Hugo played a huge role, a physical match for most of the opposition put together! loads of hard word and a key to our game. Tom at nine had many great moments with good running strong tackling and well taken chips into space. All the lads played as hard as they could for each other, the perfect end to another great season. Very well done to all of you.
Thanks to Clappers for coming to coach even though K was not playing, a great influence on the boys.
Many thanks to North Walsham for being wonderful hosts, a warm welcome with the broadest of smiles, thank you.
Until next season....