Eton Manor 35, North Walsham 10

A lacklustre first-half performance against last season's play-off finalists left an under-strength North Walsham 22 points adrift at the interval, before a second-half rally restored some self-belief.

The Vikings again gave the ball away too often, and didn't contest at their own long dropout kicks. Eton Manor played at a faster pace throughout and what breaks the visitors made tended to be in isolation.

The first 10 minutes were evenly balanced, with a James Knight penalty matched by his opposite number Callum McKie.

Captain Stuart Loose then went to the sin-bin, McKie missing the penalty kick, before Rhys Davies-Horne's clearance was charged down and Manor scrum-half Nick Horton nipped in for a try, converted by McKie.

McKie hit another penalty five minutes later, before Walsham shuffled their scrum.

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Home No 8 Garth Tucker then touched down, but McKie could not convert, before Manor finished the half with wing Nick Stewart scoring, again on the right, for McKie to add the extras and make it 25-3 at half-time.

The Vikings showed more urgency in the second period, with Chris Godwin's storming tackles even being applauded by the home supporters.

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Tom Williams and Ian Webster took good lineout ball, but the heel was often slow, and scrum-half Dean Blyth was getting caught.

When Manor opted to take a scrum rather than a penalty in front of the posts, this luckily proved unfruitful, as the visitors' defence held firm.

Cutu Serruys came onto the Walsham open side as Aki Downing moved to the front row, before Chad Seeley ran round behind the posts for a try, converted by Knight.

Manor responded with a McKie penalty, and then Horton got a second goal, following a long kick ahead, which McKie also converted.

Five minutes from the end Shane van Vuuren took a red card for a reckless stamp in the loose, and later home No 6 Carl Miller took a yellow.

Coach Nick Greenhall wants to see some passion and energy from the outset in future, especially with another tough away game next Saturday at Colchester.

n A stronger and more experienced Holt were deserved winners of what was an entertaining game at High Kelling, eventually getting home by 30-19.

The home side's heavier pack made life difficult for the young Raiders eight in the set pieces. Two tries a conversion and a penalty had the home side in front 15-8 at the break and the sides shared four tries in the second half with the Raiders finishing strongly. The win consolidated Holt's position at the top of the Woodfordes Norfolk Merit table.

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