RUGBY: Chelmsford’s impressive campaign continued with a deserved victory over fourth placed Saffron Walden.
The foundation of the win was down to the display of the Chelmsford forwards, in particular the back row of Jack Venn, Josh Clarke and Paul Redford, who were outstanding.
There was a series of early penalty exchanges and the visitors had the chance to take the lead when Chelmsford were penalised for being offside, but the kick was unsuccessful.
Simon Hoult then had a difficult chance to put the home side in the lead with a 45 metre penalty that fell just short of the upright.
After seven minutes Walden took the lead when Chelmsford were penalised for being off their feet in a ruck.
Playing down the slope in the first half and with a cross wind Hoult started to give Chelmsford some territorial advantage, but it was not until 20 minutes before the home side was able to put some concerted pressure on the Walden line.
From a penalty Hoult drilled the ball deep into the visitors half and from the resultant catch and drive the ball was held up over the line.
From the scrum, scrum half Ben Bayley went blind and right wing Tatenda Gurure was able to score an unconverted try in the corner to take Chelmsford into a 5-3 lead.
Just before half time, Chelmsford were awarded a penalty for the visitors being off side in front of the posts. Instead of taking the points on offer, Paul Redford took a quick tap and was held up over the line.
However, from the scrum, Hoult threw out a long pass and with full back Nick Hankin coming into the line at speed, he went over to score a well worked try which Hoult converted to take the score to 12-3 at half time.
Saffron Walden’s tactics for the second half were for their fly half to kick deep into Chelmsford’s half.
Chelmsford started brightly, but were then penalised and this gave Saffron Walden some impetus, from which they enjoyed their best spell of the game and they started to put pressure on Chelmsford’s line.
Credit must be given to Chelmsford’s defence which held firm and with flanker Josh Clarke breaking away from his own line and making significant ground into the visitors half.
Momentum went with the home side and the Chelmsford’s forwards began to dominate the latter stages of the game when they effectively took on the visitors pack and played some good driving rugby to keep them at bay.
Indeed they were unlucky not to score on several occasions when they were camped in the Saffron Walden 22.
A further Hoult penalty five minutes from the end effectively sealed the game for the hosts to take them into a 15-3 lead which they held to the final whistle.
This result cements Chelmsford’s thirrd placing in the league table and Chelmsford can be pleased that they denied Saffron Walden a losing bonus point and kept their line intact.