What a match !
By Roger Barrett
Best performance this season
In a rematch of the U14 Cup Final, Saffron Walden met Shelford U15s , this time at Henham. The hosts started out strongly and in the first ten minutes got the ball out to the left wing and some poor tacking by the Shelford squad let the winger reach the try line twice. With a successful conversion of the second try this left Shelford down 12-0.
So often at this point Shelford would let their heads drop, but not today. The visitors dug in their heels and were determined to come out fighting. Almost as if a switch had been flicked, the whole dynamics of the game changed, and Shelford dominated the possession for the remainder of the first half.
Kyle Harris was the first to score for Shelford with a great drive through the defence. A few minutes later Shelford had driven the hosts back to within 10m of their try line when a mistimed pass, back over the try line, allowed Harry Calne, thinking quickly, to dart through and dive on the ball and score a try, converted by Harvey Taylor. Now the scores were level at 12-12.
The remainder of the first half saw a game of two determined teams, mainly played in the hosts half, but no further score.
The second half started much as the first had finished. Shelford had over 50% of the possession and closed down any attack by the opponents. Several times we handed possession back with handling errors but kept up the pressure, and often won the ball back at the breakdown.
With around 5 minutes to go Shelford were again on the opponents 5m line and looked like we might go ahead with a try but a knock-on led to the opponents gaining possession. The ball quickly made its way down the pitch and a well timed hack put it just over the Shelford try line where a Saffron Walden hand got to it before a Shelford one. This left the final score at the whistle 17-12 to Saffron Walden.
Whilst the score may not reflect the possession in the game, the change in gear that Shelford made after the first two tries were scored, clearly showed that we could have prevented these if we’d been playing at that level from the off. Something to work on for the Eastern Counties Runners Up Cup in April. In the meantime, the players should be immensely proud of their performance today – they showed true determination when coming back from 12-0 down so early in the match and delivered a well organised play that put continued pressure on their opponents, that was, by far, our best performance this season.