Late Hodgson penalty seals fine win for Walsham
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham won a tight game against third-placed Chingford thanks to a long-range Matt Hodgson penalty two minutes from time.
The Vikings, who moved up to third as a result, went behind after 10 minutes when Scott Meakin slotted over after the hosts had infringed at the ruck.
Chingford then showed good interplay between forwards and backs as Meakin almost got over the goal line. A minute later a similar move saw right wing Joshua Noah go over in the corner to stretch his side's lead, with Meakin unable to convert.
The visitors' defensive line continued to be quickly up on the home three quarters, but were caught offside. Walsham chose to kick to touch rather than aim for the posts and lost a poor lineout in the process. Matt Hodgson did have a shot at goal before half-time, only to see his effort rebound from the right upright.
Chingford No 8 David Ogufere went to the sin-bin before the break for obstructing a Walsham free-kick and the sides turned around with the visitors 8-0 in the lead.
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The Vikings scored within a minute of the restart with a break from James Knight sending Mike Braans over for Matt Hodgson to convert.
Ryan Oakes, Tom Coller and Jono Lawson kept the lineout ticking over, but Walsham were at times being out-hooked in the scrums. Chris Godwin took a yellow card on 56 minutes as Ogufere was stopped just short.
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Chingford kept up the pressure as Will Hodgson bolstered the back row from outside centre. Tom Browes, in his 101st game, was robust in defence and the restored Godwin was everywhere in the covering line.
With two minutes remaining, a free-kick allowed the Vikings to break the siege and Walsham were awarded a penalty on the visitors' 10-metre line, centre field, which Hodgson calmly slotted to snatch victory.
Head of Rugby James Brooks knew that this would be a tight game, on the back of the defeat at Tring last week. After starting the second half well and getting back into the game they had to defend their line for 35 minutes, 10 of these with 14 men, but with redoubled effort this was a great way to win the game.
Brooks felt the victory was very much a squad effort.
North Walsham 10 Chingford 8