Thursday, November 15, 2012
A comprehensive win against an improved Stowmarket team took the Vikings into the RFU Intermediate Cup third round and maintained a high scoring run of form.
The weather was dark and foreboding, the crowd the smallest of the season and all seemed rather low key. However with a Twickenham final as the goal, and the knowledge that Stowmarket would be keen to recover from the previous week’s heavy league defeat, Walsham produced a determined and, eventually, dominant performance.
Coach Nick Greenhall had made changes to rest some established players and introduce new faces to the team. It was perhaps not a surprise that in the first half Vikings could not translate territorial advantage to a significant lead and changed ends only 10-0 in front.
The slippery ball inevitably meant knock-ons and lost ball in the tackle. Three penalties within range were spurned in favour of a set-piece, but on 20 minutes Henry Dewing converted a penalty in front of the posts for the first score. This, with five conversions, gave him a match total of 18 points and took him over the 200 mark for the club.
From the kick-off an exchange of kicks led to an attacking position from which Dewing set up James Knight and from 10 metres out, there was no stopping him. At the end of the first half Stowmarket saw more of the ball but could not get beyond midfield. Debutant Matty Norfolk-Clarke had won his line-out ball and made a promising debut.
Adie Ball left at half-time to protect an injury and was replaced by Harry Downing. Aki Downing came into the front row and was a force in the loose and clearly very strong in the scrum.
Scottow was blessed with a magnificent sunset and rainbow and this seemed to increase the intensity and effectiveness of the Vikings. At last possession was converted into scores which now came fairly regularly even though Danny Berghan had a spell in the sin bin. A catch and drive resulted in a try in the corner for flanker Seth Rodger, brilliantly converted from wide out. Shane van Vuuren scored in the corner after a long run out of defence by Dewing. Chris Kent then initiated a long run, supported by Ben Campbell, and Dewing took the final pass to score under the posts.
The game had become more open, partly because the Vikings were completing more passes and partly because Stowmarket were more prepared to run the ball. Winger Sam Shorten seemed to be clear only to be ankle tapped by Downing and for the second successive week the clean sheet was safe. Aki Downing scored after position had been set up by Knight with a precise diagonal kick. This technique was repeated by Kurt Benney, on for Chris Borrett, and the try taken by Will Hodgson.
Vikings showed skill and determination and did not ease off once the match was won. The scene is now set for the top of table league clash with Ipswich at Scottow on Saturday (3pm).
• Lowestoft and Yarmouth conceded their scheduled tie at Chelmsford.