Late try earns North Walsham a dramatic victory

Jon Younie makes a break for the line during North Walsham's narrow win at Saffron Walden. Picture:

Jon Younie makes a break for the line during North Walsham's narrow win at Saffron Walden. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

North Walsham snatched victory with a last-minute penalty after both sides had scored four tries to leave the result in doubt until the final whistle.

Despite imprecision and missed scoring opportunities by both teams, this was an entertaining encounter in the sun on the penultimate league afternoon of the season.

The Vikings were ahead after 15 minutes with a take and drive from a lineout, sending Mark McCall over, the conversion being added by Jake Duffield.

Game changer Josh Brown then put John Younie away for a try two minutes later, also converted by Duffield, before Walden struck back with a try from lock Callum Guthrie, converted by Tom Price.

Walsham were held up over the line, before Walden wing Ben Nash went off on a stretcher with a neck injury. At the restart Brown chipped neatly over the defence, gathered the ball, and gave the scoring pass to Ethan Benney, which Duffield couldn't add to, and half-time saw Walsham 19-7 ahead.

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After the interval Price broke for the home side, sending in marauding second row Brad Baker for a touchdown, Price converting.

Johny Marsters gave way to Chris Kent in the final quarter, as the Walsham scrum was rearranged and the visitors pressed the home goal line.

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A relieving free-kick saw play switch to the other end with Walden centre Mark Kimberley touching down, for Price to convert and Saffron to take the lead for the first time.

Brown responded with a huge right wing break, passing to Younie for his second try which Duffield converted to retake the lead.

With three minutes to go Walden No 6 Matt Holden scooped up a dropped pass and scored, Price adding the extras.

A high tackle gave Duffield his opportunity with the penalty kick, which he coolly slotted, before a second attempt to clear the ball to touch ended the game.

Head of Rugby James Brooks gave credit to both teams for an entertaining game. He felt his side played well in the defensive line but needed to decrease the basic error count.

Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match was Johny Marsters 'because we couldn't have done it without him'.

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