London 2NE: Saffron Walden 38 Holt 32
- Credit: Archant
Holt will be disappointed that they let this game slip from their grasp after a mixed second-half performance.
However they did return home with two bonus points, one for scoring four tries and the other for losing by less than seven points.
During the first 10 minutes the Holt set-scrum were on the back foot and, following several penalties, they conceded a converted penalty and a converted try to go 10 behind.
The situation looked ominous but the visitors were soon inspired by a scything run from full-back Tom Jackson, who split the Saffron Walden defence and fed outside-centre Jack Brewer to score in the corner. Graham Ilsley failed to convert but was soon on the score-sheet when he was unfairly held back when chasing for a touchdown and Holt were awarded a penalty-try which he converted.
Holt were now buzzing and after the sides exchanged penalties, captain Bruce van Poortvliet made a fine break from scrum-half to set up a flowing move which he finished off with a try in the corner, converted by Ilsley with a splendid touchline kick.
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Holt were now leading 22-13 and in the ascendancy but just before half-time Saffron Walden scored a converted try to take the score to 20-22.
In the second half the home side upped their game and targeted the Holt midfield with their strong running three-quarters. They also made good use of their wind advantage and the slope of the pitch to keep Holt pinned in their own half. As a result Saffron Walden overtook Holt with two converted penalties and a converted try to give them a lead of 33-22.
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Holt began to improve as the game entered the final quarter and, after a period of pressure, Holt's No8 Ashley Woods crashed over for a try which was converted by Ilsley to reduce their deficit to 33-29 and secure a bonus point. At this late stage Holt looked to be in with a chance to take the game but a mix-up behind their line gifted a converted try to Saffron Walden to give them a lead of 38-29.
With the last kick of the game Holt managed to secure their second bonus point with a penalty converted by Ilsley.
Woodfordes man-of-the-match was Rob Gray.
Holt seconds lost to Norwich Medics 34-19 while the thirds beat Broadland II 14-10.