North Walsham 18, Chelmsford 13

Chris Borrett in possession for North Walsham during Saturday's match with Chelmsford. Chris Borrett in possession for North Walsham during Saturday's match with Chelmsford.

Graham Price
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
2:29 PM

North Walsham started the second half of the season with a victory against third placed Chelmsford to stay top of London 2NE by a margin of 10 points.

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The Vikings were below par in a game in which both sides scored two tries and by half-time the penalty count was 9-2 in favour of the visitors.

Chelmsford went ahead after four minutes with a Simon Hoult penalty from 20 metres before a run and kick ahead by Freddie Henley-Hunter was touched down by the Blues.

Henry Dewing then slotted a kick to bring the scores level, before Hoult had another long shot, which fell just short of the left upright. James Knight and Will Hodgson were going well in the centre while Chris Godwin harvested repeated turnover ball and Tom Coller cleaned up in the loose, as well as in the line-out.

A rolling maul put Mark McCall over the goal line, for Dewing to convert, before Andy Tibbatts replaced Pena Sokia in the back row.

Chelmsford blind side Oliver Wright then broke, feeding Paul Smedley, who passed to fellow centre Rhys Mason for a try, but Hoult couldn’t add the extras. Blues scrum-half Ben Bailey then kicked ahead over the goal-line, but Henley-Hunter touched down first. Adie Ball then replaced Knight at inside centre and Aki Downing went to the front row in place of Stuart Loose.

Just before half-time Hoult had two unsuccessful penalty kicks from about 30 metres, the second striking the left upright just below the crossbar, leaving the score at 10-8 to North Walsham at the break.

Dewing was having some good runs in the line, and Tibbatts tackled well, but while the Vikings kept the edge in the set-pieces, they were guilty of some poor decision making. Numerous knock on infringements in the tackle added to the stoppages before Dewing struck his second penalty after 55 minutes. Chris Kent was then floored one metre from the whitewash.

Sokia came back on in the final quarter, for Kent, and put Shane van Vuuren in for the second home try, which went unconverted.

Minutes ahead of the final whistle Chelmsford No 16 Ben Brunt scored a breakaway try out on the right, also unconverted.

North Walsham are now looking forward to Saturday’s visit to Saffron Walden, the only side to have beaten them this season, but who yesterday lost to bottom side Stevenage Town.

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