U13's - Saffron Walden looses their way to a tight match.
Home v Shelford
It was yet a lovely Sunday morning with high expectations on both sides. Parents on the side lines hopping for a win and high performance. Well today we welcomed Shelford down to the Walden’s corner for the first time this season. We knew they were a strong and oversized side who play well disciplined rugby and expected no less today but we were all up for the challenge.
The match kicked off with Shelford putting pressure in the middle of the pitch and testing our defensive lines. They seemed to have the game under control with a decent period of possession and led to their first try in the corner, 5 – 0 to Shelford. Our defensive line speed was good, forcing Shelford to play behind the gain-line, but unfortunately some of the tackling, left a bit to be desired as individual miss tackling starts to creep in. These errors cost us as Shelford starts to utilize their big runners in the middle and creating opportunities for their backs to break through. Shelford’s second try was awarded after gaining a penalty from a high tackle, 10 – 0 to Shelford.
20 minutes in to the match Shelford scored another try from a scrum set piece creating an overlap to the left leaving their winger untouched, Try, 15 – 0 to Shelford. With 3 try down we try to put pressure in using our big runners like John Rowson, and Archie Crane. But with handling error and penalties adding up this didn’t help as Shelford skilled play our backline by kick and chase to score another try, 20 – 0 to Shelford. Not long after restart Shelford gained another try from winning the ball from a ruck and taking it to the corner to score, 25 – 0 to Shelford. Well with 25 points down the Saffron boys were not going to give up, they wanted to score before halftime. Ball possession was key, and this was secured with 7 phases of quick ball and high class rucking’s. The boys all shouting eagerly to cross the line and with pressure after pressure been applied. Finally!! Ryan Thomas crosses the line to make the first try, 5 – 25 to Shelford leading. This try has lifted the spirit of the boys and boost their confidence to run the ball. Shelford defence started to split as Archie Crane break through their backs and was close to the try line. With pressure after pressure being applied a penalty was awarded for Shelford being offside this created an opportunity for quick tap from Tui. B taking it in and with quick ruck, Ryan Thomas did a ‘pick and go’ to score his second Try, 10 – 25 to Shelford leading.
Saffron boys started their second half with confidence as Archie Crane did a 40m dash to the try line untouched…Game on.., 15 – 25 to Shelford in the lead. One thing Saffron boys worked on during the last training was forming and securing the ruck, this was evidently put to practice as the boys realise they had more balls to run with. Shelford defence started to crumble as our big runners started to run with the ball on the outside channels. Once again Shelford started to run out of game play opportunities and giving away ball possession by kicking away the ball only to find Sam Gregory at the full back position receiving it and dashing his way to the try line to score another try to Safrron Walden, 20 – 25 to Shelford leading. Both teams now beginning to feel the pressure as the scores are close, they started to put on a high class Under 13 performance. But Shelford came back with quick passes and breaking through our defence to score their 6th Try, 20 – 30 to Shelford leading. Not long after the restart another try was awarded to Shelford created from another scrum set piece, Try, 20 – 35 to Shelford leading. With 2 minutes to go Saffron boys wasn’t gonna give up so they kept their composer, secure the rucks and gain more ball possession and together with precise ball presentation the boys worked hard together. This resulted in gaining a penalty and with quick tap Archie Crane paced everyone once again to find his way to the try line to score his second try for the day, Final Score 25 – 35 to Shelford winning.
In summary, this was an impressive performance with some great individual performances and fine examples of link-up play throughout the team. This was a fast, physical game well refereed by recently qualified Matt Cooper - well done to him for securing both his Ref's qualification and for his ability to keep the game flowing.
Man of the Math: Archie Crane (backs) and John Rowson (Forwards)
Ryan Thomas – 2 Tries
Archie Crane – 2 Tries
Sam Gregory – 1 Try