Colts defeat Hertford (and the weather)
Good all-round performance ensures three-try victory
With the snow and ice making conditions pretty treacherous, all credit to Hertford for making the trek and being patient until the ground was sufficiently soft and the ref had arrived. As it transpired this was a good game of rugby, followed by an excellent Christmas lunch and festive singing.
With both teams fielding large squads, the tempo of the game was high throughout as fresh legs entered the fray regularly. Walden gained the ascendancy early on, the forwards winning the battle for possession and retaining the ball well. Tom Cansell put over a penalty from 25 metres out after a Hertford infringement but a momentary lapse in the Walden midfield, allowed Hertford's centre to go 40 metres to touch down. 3-7 to Hertford.
Walden continued to dominate possession but just couldn't convert it into points until a series of rucks and mauls close to the visitor's line saw Oshy Evans emerge from the melee to score. TC converted to make it 10-7, the score staying that way until half time.
A quick chat at the break about slowing the game down and being more precise in our execution had the desired effect, with the forwards protecting the ball well and causing the opposition problems at the breakdown.Despite the freezing conditions the handling in the backs was exemplary but it was a lovely chip through from Tom Smith that allowed Josh Pyle to flick the ball past the onrushing fullback and score to make the score 17-7 after a successful conversion.
Though it always felt that the home side had a firm grip on the game Hertford were never out of it. In fact they capitalised on a handling error midway in the second half, hacked the ball through and scored, the Walden defence being guilty of ball watching. With the conversion good, the scoreboard was reading 17-14 and too close for comfort. However, in the last ten minutes Walden raised their game, with one memorable set of pick and go's by the forwards achieving 30 or 40 metres of territory. From the ensuing scrum Ollie Newman picked up and running laterally, drew the defence before delivering a flat pass to Tom Smith on the charge. Stopped just short of the line, Ollie picked up from the ruck to finish the move he'd started. With the conversion made the lead was restored to 24-14 and the home side saw out the final few minutes without incident.
This was a match with good performances across the board. Dan Cohen in the back row put in an almighty shift, TC and Tom in the centre tackled the opposition to a halt and it was good to see a couple of lads, Teddy and JP, returning from injury and getting stuck in.
Thanks again to Hertford for being prepared to make the journey and play. In the end it was great contest and a fantastic way to end this half of the season.