Norwich 12 Saffron Walden 34 – Poor first half proves costly for Norwich
- Credit: Archant
After the wonderfully committed performance to draw 3-3 at Diss the previous week, Norwich were brought down to earth by a very competent Saffron Walden side.
Playing with the wind and the elements in the first half they ran up 34 points without reply to leave a previously unbeaten home side shell-shocked.
Norwich were a shadow of the side that had performed so well at Mackenders, where the defence was excellent. On Saturday some of the first up tackling was woeful, allowing the talented Walden backs to wreak havoc.Norwich were also guilty of some poor kicking into the wind, surrendering possession to the visitors who, using the wind, kicked it back again to telling effect.
Full-back Tom Price put the visitors ahead with a simple penalty after five minutes but missed another after 15. However he made amends with a try under the posts which he converted to put the visitors 10 points up after 20 minutes.
Moments later Walden went further ahead with an excellent try from centre Mark Kimberley, aided by some poor defence from Norwich, which Price again converted. Shortly afterwards he kicked another penalty to increase the lead to 20 points. Norwich were having difficulty getting out of their own half but a fine break by Simon Darby into the Walden 22 came to nothing when it should have brought a much needed try.
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A 20-point deficit at half-time could have been overhauled but when the visitors added two more tries one by No8 Brad Baker and another by Kimberley, both of which Price converted, Norwich had a real mountain to climb.
They started the half well enough with a push-over try which was not converted and Norwich were doing well in the tight but could not convert this advantage into points.
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However after 20 minutes they scored again when No8 Laurence Austin touched down under the posts to give replacement full-back JC Brown an easy conversion.
This was to be Norwich's last score. Norwich did not help themselves by giving away penalties which enabled the visitors to clear their lines but at the end of the day it was Norwich's first half performance that cost them dearly.