Fortress Scottow still standing strong for North Walsham
- Credit: Hywel Jones
A solid all-round performance earned the Vikings victory over their first-time visitors to Scottow – and extended their home record to 10 wins from 11 league matches.
Walsham were 12-0 up at the break and superior in all respects: the pack supplied abundant possession by decimating Priorians in the scrums, the backs showed creativity in attack and the whole side defended well.
The first five minutes saw the visitors enjoy a rare good spell, but the line was never threatened and a penalty sailed wide. Then, in the ninth minute with their second attack, the Vikings scored when James Knight weaved his way past three defenders after a penetrating run by Rhys Davies-Horne.
Eight minutes later David Treglown converted his own try after the pack had destroyed a Priorians' scrum and won quick second phase possession.
Playing into a stiff wind the Vikings were running the ball at every opportunity and, with Ashley Speight – Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match on his first senior appearance for three months following injury – Aki Downing and Mark McCall consistently making ground and the backs putting together some flowing movements, it seemed more tries would follow.
That they did not was down to a combination of stout defending, some imprecision at key moments and a rising penalty count against them culminating in a yellow card for Downing.
In the first half they conceded 14 penalties with seven against the visitors; to those not counting the gap felt much wider, probably because of the number conceded in attacking positions. Time and again it looked as if they must score only for the referee's whistle to blow at a breakdown.
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Like the first half, Priorians began the second brightly without threatening. With a visitors' prop in the sin bin and no replacement available, the first 10 minutes had uncontested scrums, denying the Vikings a key attacking platform and the game became scrappy with countless handling errors.
Scrums reinstated, the home side reasserted themselves to extend their lead in the 55th minute. With the wind behind them the Vikings were kicking more, and a 40m kick by Treglown from deep in his half initiated the third try. Chris Borrett showed good pace to challenge as the defence failed to clear and Will Hodgson was there to race over for a converted try.
Walsham were playing with increasing confidence with some great passing out of the tackle. With 10 minutes left after a tapped penalty 40m out, Speight punched a hole in the defence, the ball sped along the line and Mike Braans ran the perfect angle for his first try for the club; Treglown converted.
Slick passing was again evident as close to time Davies-Horne's try completed the scoring.