Forced changes the key to Viking woes

With both sides struggling in the basement area of the table and both going through a re-building process there was little surprise that this was a game short on excitement, and high on errors.

North Walsham 10, Barking 20

With both sides struggling in the basement area of the table and both going through a re-building process there was little surprise that this was a game short on excitement, and high on errors.

Both Barking and Walsham made myriad changes from the previous weekend with the home team's Jon Curry having to deal with an lengthening injury list. In just five matches Curry has used 33 players - a pointer surely to the somewhat disjointed performance.

Unsurprisingly, the line-up included two debutants in centre Ryan van Zyll and prop Jim Kelly and the third outside-half of the season in Ben Nicoll.

Unlike previous weeks, the Vikings made a bright start - but within two minutes full-back Adam Gowen was helped from the pitch with rib damage, necessitating changes to the back line which did nothing to help maintain stability.

The initial raid brought a penalty, coolly slotted by Nicoll. But the scores were levelled when Aaron Hopkins replied in kind.

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After the visitors had been reduced in strength by a yellow card for scrum-half Sean Holmes, Walsham produced about the only display of flair by either side to net a try just after the half hour.

A scrum five metres out provided the ball for de Jager, Tom Holt came cruising in from his wing, took a beautifully timed pop pass to step through and touched down under the bar with Nichol adding the conversion.

As all too often happens, the lead was soon reduced. Walsham lost James Hurlock to the sin bin for handling in a ruck and, while the penalty yielded nothing, Barking began to put the bite on. The defence was stretched and, almost on the stroke of half time, wing Scott Shaw touched down in the corner.

Curry replaced Will McLintock with Alan Turner at the break but the crowd had barely settled down before a poor clearance kick was charged down and Barking lock Pawles Denisiuk gratefully accepted the chance to score.

Worse was to follow when a chapter of errors by Walsham gifted possession to flanker Adam Bishop close to the half way line. A couple of tackles were shrugged off and he touched down - full back Harry Bryan converting.

From then until the end of the game a feature was Walsham's improved defence. Barking were always ready to spread the ball down the line and the wide out areas which have ceded tries in previous matches were well policed.

Curry brought on his remaining replacements and it may have been the fresh legs effect but Walsham looked as though they might just make the breakthrough and if not win, then reduce the deficit.

In the final ten minutes Walsham's pressure won them a couple of penalties and, in the hope of getting a losing "seven point" bonus, they opted to go for the posts. The first just shaved the outside of an upright and the other missed by a couple of feet it was just one of those days.

Few would deny that Barking deserved to take the spoils, but Curry and his coaches must be longing for the day when they can field a settled team and play to their strength.

This weekend sees the team on the road again, this time to Bridgwater, who like Walsham have got of to a poor start.

North Walsham Raiders beat Barking 2nds 10-7 thanks to an early try from scrum-half Lee Sandberg, converted by Craig May, and a long range May penalty.

The ten point lead was maintained until deep in the second half when following intense pressure Barking scored between the posts.