Brentwood 43 North Walsham 17 – League campaign draws to sorry conclusion for Vikings
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham concluded their league season with a disappointing display as they suffered their fifth consecutive defeat.
Such a heavy loss seemed unlikely 10 minutes from half-time when they were deservedly leading 12-7, but they conceded two tries before the break and were then blown away in the second half as Brentwood ran in four more. This result means the Vikings finish eighth, well clear of the relegation zone, but way behind second-placed Eton Manor.
Playing down a slope into a stiff breeze, the Vikings started brightly, running the ball at every opportunity, getting across the gain line and retaining possession. After five minutes, following a patient build-up and slick passing, a Jon Younie try put them ahead. They continued to look the better side but midway through the half, with only their second attack, Brentwood scored, Nick Binet bulldozing over and Tom Simpson converting. Undeterred, the Vikings continued to play at pace and regained the lead within four minutes though an outstanding try from James Knight. Receiving the ball on half-way he burst through two tackles and rounded the next defender before cutting inside to outwit the full back; Henry Dewing converted.
Brentwood then came into the game more and were on the attack when Tim Weber was yellow carded for a breakdown offence. A man down, the Vikings conceded two converted tries in five minutes. First, Tom King scored after a concerted pressure. Then the Vikings lost possession on Brentwood's 22 and the kick downfield took a wicked bounce, enabling Aaron Stannier to score. Knight, who alongside Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Will Hodgson, had been having a good game in the centre, was injured trying to prevent Stannier's try and had to be substituted.
The Vikings were still not spent though as an attacking force and the half ended with the score 21-12 when a promising move broke down close to the home line.
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The extent of Brentwood's lead was flattering but any hopes of a fightback were dashed after arguably Walsham's worst 40 minutes of the season. Tackles were missed, passes dropped and high balls allowed to bounce. The Brentwood forwards took control and on the few occasions the visitors got into attacking positions they either lost their own lineouts, surrendered possession at the breakdown or runners lacked support. Stannier scored three more tries, one of them converted, whilst close to the final whistle Simpson broke through some weak tackles before racing away for Brentwood's seventh try. The Vikings occasionally broke out and Dan Weber scored a memorable try. He cut inside and sliced his way up field eluding tacklers, exchanged passes with Shane van Vuuren and then shook off three defenders to dive over.
The Vikings conclude their season at Diss on Saturday, May 2 (3pm) and will have to play better than this to retain the Norfolk Cup.
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