On a cold but dry afternoon Saffron Walden Saxons entertained Shelford 3's in the quarter final of the Cambridgeshire Intermediate Cup.
Walden had much of the possession and territory for the first quarter of the game but Shelford held firm and they could not get any points on the board. It was the visitors who were first on the scoreboard when against the run of play they broke through Walden's defensive line putting a few phases together to go over wide out, a good conversion put them 7 points up after 16 mins.
Walden were not deterred and again made good yards with some determined play by the forwards and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts 20metres out when Shelford strayed offside. Fly Half Ed Smith stepped up to kick the points, 3 -7 after 25 mins.
Shelford then had their best period of the game, scoring a penalty and then their second try when Walden did not react to a quickly taken ap and go from a penalty and they stretched their lead to 3 – 17 and soon after the half time whistle blew.
Walden seemed more focused in the second half and it was not long before they scored when following a set piece deep inside the Shelford half the ball was fed wide and after a couple of rucks with some decisive running prop by Dion Thomas and hooker Will Walker helped by the rest of the pack it was Matt Pike who was having a great game at Scrum-half diving over the line to narrow the gap to 10- 17.
Shelford restarted with a long kick but Walden regained possession and Ed Smith used his kicking prowess to send the ball 50 metres back deep into the Shelford half and a great chase put pressure on the Shelford back 3. They just about hung on to the ball and in turn kicked out of defence, but straight into the arms of fullback Rob Booth who ran diagonally across the pitch to round the Shelford kick chasers, once he beat the first line of defence he was faced with the winger and inside centre with a couple of steps he was round them and raced to the corner scoring a sensational try. 15 – 17. 56 mins.
Shelford then came close to extending their lead as they got close to the Walden try line but some great defence with Chris Parry making his return from a long term injury leading the line and Walden held firm, eventually forced the turn over and once again Ed Smith staying calm under pressure cleared the lines.
The game was on a knife edge but Walden had the upper hand for the last 15 minutes and despite some good defence by Shelford Walden eventually edged ahead with some good interplay between forwards and backs creating an overlap on the left for Booth to go over wide out as Shelford ran out of cover.
Smith stepped up to cap a man of the match performance slotting the extras to put the home team 5 points up with only 5 minutes left on the clock.
Shelford tried in vain to put themselves into an area to score the try to win the game but Walden held firm and the final whistle blew.
A great result with a good all round performance and showing a lot of heart coming back from 14 points down to win the second half with 19 unanswered points.
Special mentions must go to the front row for holding firm and for 2nd row Toby Joseph-Thomas and and scrum half Matt Pike both making their home debuts.
Captain of the day winger Nick Brown was delighted by the way the team from 1- 19 fought back, all making a contribution to a game they can be proud to have taken part in.