Bury St Edmunds RUFC U16 19 v Saffron Walden RUFC U16 17
By Kirk Bonas
Two Evenly Matched Teams
Initially this weekend we were due to play Southwold in the cup, unfortunately due to a lack of players they were forced to concede the game, which left us looking for an alternative at very short notice. Fortunately Saffron Walden were in a similar position and readily took up the offer to travel to the Haberdan. Having played in a fierce, eagerly contested fixture a few weeks ago it was anticipated that this game would again be decided by fine measures, and this proved to be the case.
From the outset it was clear that both teams were up for the game, ferocious defence was matched with evasive and effective running, providing all with an entertaining spectacle. Building upon the success of last week it was the team who scored first, stealing a ball out wide and outstripping the defence to touch down. Defensive intensity from both teams caused errors, handling and discipline, and these were utilised to gain territory by both. Throughout the half, play ebbed and flowed, however few clear chances were created, leaving the score at halftime 12-10 in our favour.
At the outset of the second half the game continued in a similar fashion with both teams cancelling each other out, however as the half progressed, well organised defence with excellent line speed began to gain territorial advantage for the team, whilst excellent retention of the ball through numerous phases ensured we were regularly on the front foot. Yet it was Saffron Walden who, with less than 10 minutes on the clock, capitalized upon an error to score under the posts and converting to secure a 17-12 lead. Unperturbed, with time quickly running out, the team displayed the required intensity to push Saffron Walden back and following sustained pressure, score under the posts and with the successful conversion, establish a 19-17 lead. From the restart the ball was claimed and moved deep into the Saffron Walden half, with additional pressure they managed to turn the ball over with just 3 minutes remaining, however the team were not to be beaten and excellent line speed created an error and following the subsequent scrum the ball was dispatched to touch, final score 19-17.
Both games this season with Saffron Walden have been passionately contested and could quite easily have gone either way. Two very evenly matched teams met today in a fantastic advert for youth rugby. Our thanks to Saffron Walden for travelling to us today and we will eagerly await encounter 3, pencilled in for early 2019. Thanks also to all our parents for your continued support, it is greatly appreciated. Today was a tough game which has taken a toll on the squad, however fingers crossed all will be fighting fit for our cup fixture away to Colchester next weekend.