London 1N: North Walsham 21, Letchworth 31

North Walsham played probably their best afternoon's rugby of the season, but could not keep up with Letchworth, who went second in London 1N.

The Vikings dropped further into the relegation zone as Hammersmith & Fulham took a losing bonus from their game with Rochford.

Stuart Loose led out the Vikings on his 400th first team start and helped defend early pressure from the visitors. Ollie Hardisty had to touch down a kick ahead in the first five minutes before Shane van Vuuren made a superb right wing break, feeding Chris Borrett, who could not hang on to the ball four metres from the opposition line.

Chris Godwin almost got over a few minutes later and the Walsham centre pairing of Will Hodgson and Stephen Hyde were making good inroads against their very fast counterparts. Walsham were playing with determination and better co-ordination when van Vuuren made another searing break, passing to Borrett in the line from full back to score the first try. James Forrester was unable to convert.

Letchworth open side Steve Mahoney replied with an interception two minutes later, converted by captain James Tirrell.


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The Vikings' back row were gaining significant turnover ball, and Tom Coller was soaring high in the line-out. But often the gains were kicked away downfield, not finding touch, with the lost possession being run back with interest, which even our international brethren are realising is a poor option.

Into the second quarter Forrester kicked a penalty for Walsham to retake the lead, before unmarked visiting wing Steve Smith took a long pass and ran round the back to score a second try, converted by Tirrell. The score remained 8-14 at half-time.

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The second half started with a series of penalties taking Letchworth to within metres of the Walsham line before scrum half Alex Hughes extended their lead with another kick.

Vikings responded with a Forrester penalty, before Henry Dewing came on for van Vuuren and put himself about the much beefier opposition.

Letchworth got a soft score a short while later when Tirrell touched down a kick ahead under the posts for Hughes to convert. However Walsham responded immediately with a cracking Hodgson try, which went unconverted.

Loose then went off to applause, being replaced by Keith Fowles, before Letchworth full-back Henry Robinson ran through some poor tackles to take the fourth try, converted from wide by Hughes.

Yet again Walsham responded, Borrett running three quarters of the length of the pitch, but his kick ahead didn't go to hand. Visiting prop Gary Glencross was in the sin bin before a final foray saw Dewing go over in the right corner, but Forrester could not convert.

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