Woodford Under-15s demolish Saffron Walden 65-0 in Essex League Division Two

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Matt Bastick was Woodford best back in the match. Matt Bastick was Woodford best back in the match.

Woodford put on a polished performance to thrash Saffron Walden 65-0 in the Essex League Division Two on Sunday.

Over enthusiastic at the kick off Woodford handed the early advantage to Saffron Walden by being off side. Walden won the scrum and proceeded to put together a sustained period of pressure, winning ruck ball and recycling possession.

Woodford absorbed the pressure with sound defence and ensured Walden made little progress up the field.

Unable to find a way through Walden eventually made an error and from the resulting scrum Woodford were able to get their hands on eth ball for the first time. Team captain Tom Mead passed the ball out quickly and a swift interchange between Alex Marks and Dan Farrelly created a space for Marks to wrong foot the defence and go over for the first score, 5 - 0.

A swift kick off gave Walden a good field position and the centre partnership of Farrelly and Matt Bastick had to be on top form to tackle out the threat.

Woodford cleared the pressure and from the line out Euan Fay tipped ball to Jed West who made a good drive before Mead took over and made a quick off load to Marks who got pushed in to touch on the right. Woodford knew that if they kept the ball their direct running approach would be rewarded.

On 9 minutes Saffron Walden kicked to clear their try line but it was caught by Anthony Hamilton who went on the first of his many attacking runs of the afternoon. Tackled he popped the ball to West to continue the move and then appeared again on the end of the next phase of play to score in the corner 10 - 0.

This time Walden’s quick kick off was returned with interest as Fay took the ball and started a charge up field. His pass to West started a passage of play involving Rob Yiannakou, Marks, Farrelly, Will Curness, Bastick and Jamie Ali taking Woodford in to the Walden 22m area. From the resulting scrum Walden tried to run the ball but a resounding tackle from Bastick forced the ball loose, Fay secured and then released West who fed Curness to drive over in the corner, 15-0.

Woodford continued to dominate once they got their hands on the ball and Walden prevented this as much as they could. A scrum in the Woodford 22 was won cleanly by Arun Vaid’s hook to start a passage of play for the next score. Mead set the backs running and Hamilton made further ground on the wing. Vaid popped up to keep the move alive before popping a pass to Mead. The ball worked its way through Fay and West to open up the space for Farrelly to outpace the defence and score on the right, with Marks converting, 22 - 0 on 18 minutes. Zac Cannon and Mick Chamberlain came on to maintain a strong front row.

Walden responded with a period of intense pressure. For 10 minutes they laid siege to the Woodford try line. Twice Woodford kicked in an attempt to relieve the pressure but Walden fielded the ball and ran it back strongly. With a warning to Woodford about straying off side too many times the team knuckled down, secured the ball and worked their way out of trouble and keep the score sheet clean at half time.

Woodford made some half time changes which inspired them to start the second half on the front foot and give Walden no space in which to play. Forcing Walden in to errors Woodford were award a scrum. A clean hook by Cannon saw quick ball from Mead to Marks who absorbed the first challenge and slipped the ball to Michael Batt. Batt launched himself on a run down the right handing off defenders and swerving in to gaps to score with his first touch of the ball which Marks duly converted, 29 - 0 on 35 minutes.

The quick Walden kick off back fired as Fay took the catch, ran forward, set the ball up, Mead passed to West who chipped ahead, Hamilton followed up and ripped the ball from the prone Walden player and drove over for an unconverted try, 34 - 0.

Walden were showing signs of tiredness as they tried to halt the Woodford attacks, throwing themselves in to tackles and contesting at every ruck. The next kick off was caught by Cannon who made ground before Fay carried the move on creating the space for Marks to power through for a try, 39-0 within the opening ten minutes of the second half.

Woodford made more changes and the fresh legs only added to Walden’s problems. Max Venditti crashed on to several short passes to create holes in the Walden defence but Walden cleared their line with a speculative kick. Will Carey, who had had a quiet time at full back, caught the ball and run it back, pass three defenders before he was tackled. Carey was able to off load the ball to Batt who from almost the same position as before set off to run in his second try, 44 - 0.

With 44 minutes gone neither side let up, with Walden defending to the last and Woodford attacking at every opportunity. Hamilton broke out from the Woodford 22 and made it to the other end of the pitch before being hauled down. With Venditti is support the ball was secured and Callum Levy and Yiannakou drove on, giving Sean Moore the opportunity to slip a pass to West who scored from short range, converted by Marks, 51-0.

On 49 minutes Woodford struck again as Farrelly made a break, slipped a pass to Marks in support who fed Chamberlain who was not letting anyone stop him from forcing his way over the line for another converted try, 58-0.

With Saffron Walden wilting Woodford finished off their scoring as Hamilton caught a kick and ran straight back making valuable metres. As he was felled he found Marks in support and just as the move look like it had broken down Carey scooped up the ball and sprinted through to score between the posts making Marks conversion a formality and a final score of 65-0.

Woodford squad: Rob Yiannakou, Arun Vaid, Mick Chamberlain, Euan Fay, Victor Chujor, Will Curness, Rhys Phillips, Jed West, Tom Mead, Alex Marks, Jamie Ali, Dan Farrelly, Matt Bastick, Anthony Hamilton, Will Carey, Zac Cannon, Callum Levy, Max Venditti, Jack Laumann-Mamas, Sean Moore, Tom Fitzpatrick, Michael Batt


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