Lessons to be learned as North Walsham are well beaten
HERTFORD 57, NORTH WALSHAM 12: North Walsham suffered another heavy defeat on Saturday – and the impartial onlooker would ask if the writing is already on the wall.
Within a minute Warren Abrahams had to leave the field with a twisted knee. The restart saw Hertford awarded a free-kick at the scrum and a quick tap and go saw Compton go over for the first score of the day, converted by Richardson.
Walsham restarted with a good passage of play between forwards and backs with Barry Frost making two good runs that were a taster of the good game he played throughout.
Then a kick to touch did not carry and Hertford quickly ran the ball back, with excellent forward support that saw fly-half Mannion scoring under the posts for the first of his hat-trick. Within a couple of minutes Mannion ghosted round the defence to score again.
Stung into action, Walsham had a purple patch, controlling play for a 20 minute spell in which the ball was sensibly used and wisely distributed. Loose and Davies were prominent, chasing and tackling with purpose to force a number of Hertford errors. After some strong runs from Ball and Burroughs Van Vuuren was put over in the corner to make it 19-5.
Kicking deep into the Walsham 22, Hertford secured a penalty that hit a post and Frost fielded, setting off a strong run upfield. Tight play saw Walsham retain possession for 11 plays, eventually driving into the Hertford 22 where an old Scottow favourite Sam Tyler was yellow carded for handling in the ruck. The penalty was kicked to the corner but the throw-in cleared the jumpers.
The pressure told, with a Hertford prop also receiving a card. Two up in the forwards ensured the resulting line-out was cleanly won and driven over for Mark McCall to touch down and Frost to add the conversion. At 19-12 down there was a growing expectation that the opportunity to secure a bonus point through four tries was achievable.
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The restart saw an exchange of kicks and it was that man Mannion again who fielded the last one. Through an interchange of passes he cut through the defence, finishing with a sublime reverse pass that cut out the cover defence and sent winger Crompton in under the posts, the try being converted to make it 26-12 at half-time.
The Walsham contingent were well satisfied with a very competent performance although a number of needless individual mistakes had resulted in scores being made.
From the restart it was clear Mannion was going to clear their lines whenever Walsham drove into the Hertford 22 and very accurately he did it throughout the second half. Returned kicks were nowhere near as telling and Mannion picked up a knock on to walk in under the posts to take the score to 33-12.
The game became very loose, suiting perfectly Hertford's style, and despite some aggressive defence support was always available from forwards and backs alike to keep the scoreboard ticking over to 50-12 through three further tries and a conversion.
At this point Walsham tightened up their game and spent the last 10 minutes in the Hertford 22 without scoring.
The final play mysteriously saw the ball shoot 20m out of the back of a Walsham ruck for Hertford to pounce on it and run in the final score, demonstrating the main difference, between the sides – pace and support.
It was another harsh lesson but problems are being resolved and attitudes and approaches hardened. Next week's home game against Dorking will be no easier and it will be vital for the home support to play its role.