Walden travelled to Stowmarket with yet again a much enforced changed team (it seems to be theme this season).
With a stiff breeze blowing diagonally across the pitch they had the elements against them in the first half.
Stowmarket kicked off and pinned Walden deep inside their own half and they could not extricate from this knowing that clearance kicks would not be that effective.
In the first 15 minutes the home team scored two tries wide out as they created overlaps after a series of phases sucking in Waldens defenders. With two good conversions they were 14 points up.
Then when they scored two further tries, the first a good break by a centre and although he was brought down a couple of metres from the line the Stowmarket scrum-half picked the ball up and dived over from close range, the second was after a strong driving maul from a line out around half way, they then broke down the blind side after Waldens guards were sucked in. So with only 5 minutes of the half remaining they had scored 4 converted tries and it looked bad for Walden as they trailed by 28 points.
But Walden did manage to finally pin the home team into their 22 from the kick off and forced a turnover. Captain Mark Kimberley playing at flyhalf received the ball after a couple of phases and sensing some space behind the defensive line chipped over and as the ball crossed the try line it bounced in his favour and he dotted it down for the try, Centre Ivan Karsten converted to leave the half time score at 28 – 7.
Although Walden sensed a comeback might be on and started the second half in determined fashion it was against the run of play that Stowmarket scored first to increase their lead to 33 – 7.
Walden and Kimberley then hit a purple patch and scored two quick tries the first after several phases when a gap opened up as Walden stretched the defence. The second from a fine break by hooker Sam Butler playing his first full game for the First team, with just the fullback to beat he passed to Kimberley to score under the posts. 33 -21 after 55 mins.
Walden then nearly had another with a break down the left as substitute winger Nick Brown received the ball and cut inside the defence, with 25 metres to run he was tackled just short of the try line and Stowmarket were penalised for slowing the ball down and could easily have conceded a Yellow but the Referee was content to just give the penalty.
The Bonus point try for Walden came when they fed the ball down the right just inside their own half and Winger Ollie Webber found some space and raced forward 15 metres and chipped ahead as the full back came across. He chased his own kick and pressurised the covering defence into a fumble and he scooped up the loose ball to dive over the line. Another conversation by Karsten and Walden were only 5 points behind with still 10 mins to play. 33- 28.
Both teams gave their all to try and secure the win and Walden having put so much effort to get within one score just seemed to run out of steam and could not manage to get close as Stowmarket upped their defence to hang on for the win.
Considering being down by 28 points at two separate stages in the game, Walden can take great credit to work their way back and be disappointed not to come away with a win, but 2 Bonus points can still be looked back with pride with perhaps one of their best second half performances against the 3rd placed side in the league.
A home game next week against Norwich will be another strong test as they now sit one place ahead of Walden in 4th place. Please come along and support.