Hertford 36, North Walsham 17

The Vikings slumped to their heaviest away defeat of the season with this disappointing display.

The Vikings slumped to their heaviest away defeat of the season with this disappointing display.

It looked quite promising at half-time, with a 10-10 scoreline, but two converted tries straight after the break left Walsham a mountain to climb and by the end they were a well beaten side.

The side showed six changes from last week. In the pack Josh Reeves and Tim Groom returned, with Pena Sokia on from the start. Aidan McNulty played at outside half with Iain Young moving to the wing.

Hertford settled first and took the lead after eight minutes through a try by winger Handre Schmidt, converted by Kieron Davies, after the Vikings' defence had been badly stretched. Soon afterwards a penalty attempt by McNulty drifted wide.

Gradually the Vikings' ball retention improved and they began to apply some pressure. Mike Howard won a lineout 30 metres out, a driving maul took play close to line and quick hands from Lee Sandberg and McNulty gave Adam Gowen the space to race over.

As the half progressed the visitors became the more dominant force. A quick tap penalty by Tim Groom and strong run from Sam Herrington gave Young the chance to show his pace, but he was bundled into touch just short.

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On 35 minutes the Vikings took the lead. Another strong driving maul was halted illegally by Hertford and, with the offending player in the sin bin, the visitors took full advantage. A five metre scrum led to a driving maul which took the forwards en masse across the line and, after consultation with his touch judge, the referee awarded a try, Mark McCall the scorer.

The referee added on eight minutes to the first half and with the last action a Davies penalty levelled the scores.

The Vikings' hopes of getting something from the game were blown away in the first six minutes of the second half. Slick handling and strong running from deep by Hertford, aided by some insipid tackling, saw Phil Ellis score, quickly followed by a second try for Schmidt. Davies converted them both to make it 24-12 with the Vikings having hardly touched the ball.

Slowly the Vikings steadied the ship but they were unable to maintain pressure for long and so there were few scoring opportunities.

In the 70th minute Hertford extended their lead. The Vikings lost possession on their own 22 giving the chance for Ellis to score his second, with Davies adding the points.

On the stroke of full-time the Vikings mounted a sustained attack and were rewarded with a penalty try, converted by McNulty.

There was still time though for the Vikings to show their defensive frailties again as Rory Wood scored Hertford's fifth try deep into time added on.