Holt 41  Saffron Walden 24  - 16th November

Holt 41 Saffron Walden 24 - 16th November

By Martyn Sloman
22 November 2019
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Holt move up table by beating visitors from Essex

Will Briscoe Man of Match
Henry Harrison
Holt were seeking their second win of the season when they entertained the mid-table visitors from Essex. They will be pleased to have achieved a bonus point, based on attacking rugby, and on some impressive individual performances. Set against that, the visitors were badly depleted by injury, unavailability, and late withdrawals and played throughout with just 14 players. It was to Saffron Walden’s credit that the scores remained level until Holt pulled away in the last quarter of the game.
In the first half the lead changed hands repeatedly. Saffron Walden’s captain, centre Mark Kimberley, opened the scoring with a penalty and Holt immediately responded with a try from centre Ali Hughes – this was converted by outside-half Tom Jackson, making the score 7-3. Holt were pressing hard with the interplay between Hughes and fellow centre Aaron Tagg an impressive feature of their game. However, just as they were establishing a pattern, the excellent Kimberley intercepted a pass five metres from his own line and ran the full length of the field to score, and then converted his own try.
Some good Holt inter-passing gave number 8 Will Briscoe an opening which led to a second Holt try; this time unconverted. Not to be outdone, Saffron Walden’s number 8 Ben Stapleton, responded with a similar try of his own, again unconverted. The score was now 12-15.
Ali Hughes then made an incisive break for his second try, again the conversion failed. Mark Kimberley scored a penalty giving the visitors a lead of 17-18 at half time.
The second half began with another Kimberley penalty. It was now evident that the visitors were tiring and their depleted bench meant that they were unable to draw on the fresh legs from substitutes. Wing Ollie Woodrow put Holt back in front with a try in the corner; Tom Jackson made an excellent conversion. Saffron Waldon’s full back Tom Price then scored with a long-distance penalty – all the more remarkable since he was carrying a knee injury for most the game. Then Holt took charge scoring three tries in rapid succession: first by Will Briscoe, the next by Ollie Woodrow; the third by substitute wing Ben Halton-Farrow. Tom Jackson converted Woodrow’s try.
The final score may have flattered Holt, but their commitment and fitness saw them through. The result, achieved through seven tries, will have given the young side a much-needed confidence boost as they go forward in a highly competitive league.
Holt’s Norfolk Brewhouse Man of the Match was Will Briscoe.
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