Eton Manor 29, North Walsham 55

It seems that somewhat belatedly North Walsham have found the winning formula which has been sought all season.

That it has come as coach Nick Greenhall has found a settled side is only part of the formula. The others are the combinations that constitute that settled side and a massive dose of self belief among the players.

Having produced their best performance of the season last week Greenhall made just one change, with Billy Graham-Park making his full debut in place of the unavailable Shane van Vuuren. That the previous week's performance was eclipsed by a considerable margin is undeniable but the question that will remain is how did they manage to concede so many points when they dominated in every area.

The Vikings were quickly into their stride but against the run of play were soon seven points adrift. A chip ahead took a wicked bounce, the Eton Manor right wing burst through to score under the bar and wing Nick Horton converted.

With the forwards winning good ball at will the backs, led by Ollie Hardisty and James Forrester, were flying. Surprisingly as there was so much emphasis on the back play it was the forwards who claimed five of the nine tries but this was largely due to the way they tracked the backs throughout.


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Having conceded the early lead it took more than 10 minutes pressure before the Vikings got on to the scoreboard. Chris Borrett twice came close before Chris Godwin broke clear and Andy Tibbatts was on hand to make the touchdown. Often when forwards figure in the scoring lists they have flopped over the line but following some great interpassing Tom Coller took the ball fully 35 metres out and outpaced the cover to score and Dewing's conversion took the lead. A kick ahead had the defence struggling and a quick follow up saw Stephen Hyde making the third touchdown. Having dropped 10 points adrift Manor forced a penalty which Horton converted and with two minutes of the half remaining drew level with a converted try.

Despite having relinquished their lead there was no doubt that the Vikings were going to prevail as they took control from the restart. Forrester kicked to five metres, Davies took the catch, the drive was set and Mark McCall slipped off the side to score.

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Greenhall made his first change, putting on Chris Kent for Gerald Hegarty. A quick show and go from Hardisty broke the defence, the ball came to Loose who sent a well timed pass to Forrester who strolled over under the bar. From the restart Tom Coller, who as last week was imperious in the line-out, won the ball which went down the line. Borrett took it deep into the 22, Hardisty cleaned up and Will Hodgson doubled the lead, with Dewing converting.

Loss of discipline and concentration then cost Walsham seven points as they conceded penalties in their own 22 and Manor scored their third try.

More good work by Coller then sent Hodgson away and when tackled he passed to the unmarked Loose who pumped his legs for 15 metres to score.

Manor were gifted a fourth try, but it was only because Dewing was so intent on keeping the ball in play when he had no support.

Harry Downing, another young Scottow product, came on for his debut with 10 minutes left. The Vikings were determined to keep their momentum and scored twice in the final three minutes.

Manor tried to break out but knocked on, the referee played advantage and Loose made five metres before popping the ball to Leon Davies to score.

And with the final play Graham-Park marked his full debut with his first try out on the right and Forrester slotted the conversion.

With Rochford losing to Chingford the five points took the Vikings out of the relegation zone, a position they will fight tooth and nail to preserve when league action resumes in two weeks.

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