Different approach might have paid off for Vikings

North Walsham 23, Havant 33: As so often in the past, North Walsham left the field with both team and supporters wondering why they had just one point to show for their considerable efforts, when five were there for the taking.

A flying start had the visitors scrambling back in defence but for all the flair shown a succession of knock-ons and spilt passes cost them dear, and against the run of play Havant broke away and full back Dave Keyte made the touchdown, with James McSeveny adding the extras.

The dominant Walsham pack were providing good ball to the backs and a couple of driving runs by Jamie Burroughs maintained the pressure. Havant came offside at a line-out and Abrahams put the first points on the board but sadly this was his only success from five attempts as he twice hit the posts and the other two efforts missed by inches.

A rare incursion into the Walsham half by Havant was rewarded with a penalty which McSeveny knocked over but after Abrahams, McCall and Sandberg had all come close the referee carded a Havant back and awarded Walsham a penalty. Taking the scrum option the pack, well marshalled by Grant Furlong, split the opposition and Chris Kent claimed the touchdown. Right on half time Havant made good progress down the right, won good turnover ball and with a three on one advantage wing Luke Chandler made it a seven point lead at the interval.

Havant stepped up the pace after the break and began to dominate in open play but defensively Walsham were sound and weathered the storm. The tireless Burroughs made a defence splitting run but failed to spot his support, Abrahams and Frost came close but when again a spilled pass ended the attack, the ball was lashed downwind and only great cover running by Tom Williams prevented a score.

Big pressure in the Havant 22 brought several chances but the visitors' defence stayed strong. They conceded a string of penalties close to the line which could have brought a penalty try but the referee decided a yellow for No 8 Graeme Frith was sufficient. As in the first half Walsham opted for the scrum, eight on seven was no contest, and Kent capped a solid display with his second try.

Job done, Shaun Woodhouse made way for Ben Campbell to refresh the front row. Havant always looked dangerous when they moved the ball wide and midway through the half Walsham came offside and McSeveny again stretched the lead to five points.

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Five soon became 12 when a poor clearance kick was blown infield by the strong wind, McSeveny took the catch, made ground and a two man overlap created space for Chandler to double his tally.

The final 10 minutes provided a flurry of scoring as Walsham's discipline faltered. McSeveny slotted another penalty before the Walsham forwards again pressured the line, forcing another string of penalties.

Sandberg went close before young Williams, playing only his third senior game, had the confidence to tap and go for his first try. Another poor clearance by Walsham again resulted in a Havant score, with flanker Alex Howard making the touchdown. Far from giving up the Vikings showed their mettle and more forward power told again as replacement James Elliott capped his debut with Walsham's fourth try, thus gaining them a deserved bonus point.

There can be no criticism of the effort expended and if Walsham can tailor their game to the conditions and play to their strengths the results will come.