Five-try Walden triumph at Westcliff
Assured performance ensures victory for Colts
This was the best performance of the season to date against a Westcliff side who were well drilled, combative and resilient. Despite the lengthy journey for most, the squad showed every sign that they were up for a challenge during the warm up. With an oversupply of forwards and shortage of backs, Ollie Newman moved to centre alongside Tom Smith to give us a sizeable centre pairing.
From kick-off Walden got on with the job in hand, applying pressure though the forwards driving and rucking very effectively. Camped in the the host's 22, the pressure finally told as Regan forced his way over for the first try. Westcliff responded almost immediately, seizing on a Walden dropped ball to turn defence into attack and bringing the scores level. 5-5.
Walden realised where their strengths lay and set about a series of pick and go's, making a couple of metres each time. Eventually Dan forced his way over to restore the lead and with Josh converting it was 5-12. Again Westcliff replied, fashioning an overlap on the left to bring the score back to 10-12.
Back went Walden, this time forcing a penalty from Westcliff which was taken quickly and Ollie Newman squeezed over to make it 10-19 with the conversion good. Not to be outdone Westcliff forced their way back into the contest with another score just before half-time to leave it 15-19 at the break. It was close on the scoreboard but Walden had created a number of chances which they really should have finished off with a more clinical approach.
The second half began much like the first. The Walden forwards, playing with huge intensity, were making metres at will and supplying good ball from the set piece. When Kaine picked up from a scrum 15 metres out from the Westcliff line, Ollie ran a great line from centre to take the pass in space and cross the whitewash for the fourth try. 15-24.
As had become the nature of the match Westcliff responded with a try of their own and hit the conversion to narrow the gap to just two points 22-24 with about 15 minutes to go. It was then the turn of the backs to turn on the magic. Josh chipped over the advancing opposition backs, collected the ball and sent it out wide to the right, where Archie, with still three or four men to beat, cut inside and raced for the posts to touch down for a vital try. With the conversion missed it was 22-29 and with 10 minutes remaining there was everything to play for. As it transpired Walden saw the out the remainder of the match fairly comfortably to run out the winners, deservedly so.
So, much to praise - great continuity, aggressive tackling, generally good hands, impressive work rate and good game management. Need to work on being more clinical especially with the try line beckoning - we butchered at least three tries through poor technique. However, the lads can be very pleased with their day's work. Let's keep on improving!