North Walsham put in brave show before going down to leaders

James Knight is met by some determined defence as North Walsham take on leaders Chingford. Picture:

James Knight is met by some determined defence as North Walsham take on leaders Chingford. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

In a full blooded game of mid-winter rugby North Walsham secured a losing bonus point at Scottow, going down by three tries to one against the league leaders.

It was a contest with minimal errors that was allowed to flow by referee Sam Phillips.

The Vikings had all the early possession and territory before a Harry Downing penalty put his team 3-0 ahead on 12 minutes.

The visitors then came into the match, their maul being held up over the whitewash, before left wing Joshua Noah crossed in the corner, with Scott Meakin failing to convert.

Downing responded with a solo effort, his own conversion going wide. Home full back Ben O'Hickey then gained valuable ground with a brace of long distance grubber kicks to touch, counter-acting the visitors' defensive line speed.

However, just before the interval, Chingford pressure allowed full back Josh Porter to score and retake the lead at 10-8, the conversion going awry.

Meakin missed a kickable penalty in the third quarter before the heavier Chingford eight slid the Walsham pack back a full 12 metres on the greasy surface.

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The home defence remained sound and Vikings' stand-off James Knight led a breakout with runs and kicks out of hand.

Downing had a chance to put the score back in Walsham's favour on 71 minutes but the penalty shot was pulled wide.

Chingford retook the initiative, No 8 James Baber being held up by Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Ryan Oakes, but two minutes later Baber was driven over in the maul, Meakin again being unable to add the conversion.

That left Walsham seven points adrift and still in a position to draw the game with a converted try.

With four minutes remaining Knight fired a kick to touch five metres out from the Chingford goal. The ball came out along the line but the Vikings were penalised for crossing and the ensuing kick ended the game.

Head of rugby James Brooks was proud of the performance and couldn't fault his team's effort.

With the Eton Manor game postponed, North Walsham stay in fifth position in London One North with a trip to Ruislip coming up next.

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