Holt beaten – despite scoring five tries

Action from Holt's game against Saffron Walden. Photo: STUART YOUNG

Action from Holt's game against Saffron Walden. Photo: STUART YOUNG - Credit: Archant

Holt 31 Saffron Walden 45

Holt opened their London 2NE campaign by scoring five tries – but they still slid to defeat against visitors Saffron Walden.

Holt were outgunned by the clinical finishing of the visitors during an entertaining contest at Bridge Road.

The hosts started well and early pressure led to a penalty conceded by Saffron Walden but the conversion attempt went wide. Holt continued to press, but a careless drop-pass was pounced on by the visitors who scored under the posts and then kicked the conversion.

Saffron Walden's speedy winger, Willey, was a constant threat and was rewarded with a try which was again converted by full-back Pearce to give the visitors a 14-point lead.

Holt's fly-half, Gareth Mears, led the team's fightback. His well-placed kick was followed up by Graham Ilsley who touched down but he failed to convert his own try. Mears then made a lovely break which enabled Loane to score in the corner but, again, the conversion attempt failed. This reduced the deficit to 10-14.

The latter stages of the first half were dominated by Saffron Walden whose back row and centres combined well to create several opportunities, three of which resulted in converted tries to give the visitors a half-time lead of 10-35. It could have been worse for Holt save for brave tackling, in particular from full-back Adam Loane.

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Refreshed by the half-time break on a warm day it was Holt's turn to enjoy a purple patch with three well-taken tries. Ilsley converted his own try to make the score 17-35. This was followed by Rob Gray crashing over the line for a try converted by Ilsley.

It was then the turn of the Riley brothers, James and Hal, to link well for a try converted by Ilsley.

During this period of Holt domination Saffron Walden's only response was a converted penalty. Holt were now only seven points adrift with five tries in the bag and two bonus points were in prospect, the score standing at 31-38.

As the game entered the final minute the visitors scored a break-away try which they converted to make the final score 31-45.

The outcome of this match means that, under the league bonus-point system, Saffron Walden secured five points, four for their win and one for their try count. Holt were awarded one point for scoring five tries.

The Woodfordes Man of the Match was Holt's full-back Adam Loane who was making his first appearance following a long absence due to injury.

Holt visit South Woodham Ferrers on Saturday.