London One North: North Walsham 33 Thurrock 25
10:59 17 November 2014
North Walsham fielded a stronger squad than in recent weeks and also put in a more convincing performance than of late to ease past old foes Thurrock.
The Vikings remain in fifth place in London 1N after the win, although the result was in the balance until the final 10 minutes of the game.
The visitors started with a flourish, taking the first Walsham scrum against the head, but they missed a penalty on five minutes. Henry Dewing kicked the Vikings ahead shortly afterwards before outside half Chris Borrett dropped a goal from 25 metres.
Thurrock replied with a penalty from Jake Barrand before Walsham strung together several phases and Borrett put James Knight in between the uprights, for Dewing to convert.
Borrett called ‘no ball’ at several set pieces, declining a pass, so that the ball was kept tight and safe in the forwards.
Thurrock half-back Mark Sullivan crossed the line next, converted by Barrand, followed by a try from hooker Kealan Henry to take the lead, Barrand adding the extras. The Vikings responded with a strike against the head and pressure on the visitors’ line.
Thurrock replacement Billy Ellis went to the sin bin, followed by a take and drive from Tom Coller and the pack, and a try for Mark McCall, which went unconverted, leaving Walsham ahead 18-17 at the interval.
Aki Downing and Mat Oakes replaced Tom Knight and McCall but the third quarter was something of a stalemate.
Eventually the Vikings put together several passes, but put a foot in touch on the way to the line. However Tim Weber made good ground and lock Ryan Oakes went over in the clubhouse corner for a try, the kick going wide.
Thurrock centre Marcus Spremulli responded with a try, but Barrand pulled the conversion to the right, bringing the score to 23-22.
Then Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match Borrett, rather than passing, ran round the outside of the cover to send Pieter Claussen over the line for the fourth try and bonus point, which Dewing converted. With five minutes remaining, Bannard was successful with a penalty, but Dewing put his own kick over, right on the final whistle, to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.
Coach Nick Greenhall thought his was the better team throughout, with errors from the Vikings in the third quarter giving the visitors confidence to keep going.
At half-time the club presented a cheque for £2,500 to local charity Helen’s Heroes, raised at the game on October 11 versus Colchester.
Before the game a minutes’ silence was held for long-time supporter Ruth Yaxley, mother of club stalwarts Bev, Kelly and Mark, who died this week.
Meanwhile North Walsham Raiders made it a Scottow double by beating a very durable Wisbech II side 28-7.
A shortage of front row forwards meant coach Leon Davies played his first full game at prop to ensure contested scrums. The first half was scoreless but early in the second period a smooth bout of passing resulted in centre Ted Morgan sweeping through to touch down and then convert the first of what was to be a 100pc kicking record.
A scrum on the edge of the 22 was a gift for scrum-half Jack Frazer to make a blindside break for the second score. A grubber kick into space by Davies was hacked on by Morgan for his second. The only real pressure in the half resulted for a push-over try for Wisbech but a penalty try for persistent offside by the visitors completed the scoring.