London One North: Chingford 40 North Walsham 16
- Credit: Archant
After conceding just 36 points in their first five matches the Vikings landed with a heavy bump at unbeaten Chingford.
This was their second top three clash in a row so they were expecting a tough game but, whilst Chingford were arguably no stronger than Tring, whom they ran so close last week, the Vikings' performance was well below the high standards they have set themselves this season.
They just never settled, rarely putting more than a few phases of play together and were generally out muscled, increasingly struggling defensively as the game progressed.
The Vikings hung on doggedly to be just 7 -3 down five minutes before the break. But they then conceded 20 points in the next 15 minutes and there was no way back. Three second half yellow cards made matters even more difficult.
The visitors made a nervous start, going behind after seven minutes, Luke Watson scoring in the corner and Scott Meakin converting. Three minutes later Matt Hodgson cut the deficit with a 30 metre penalty. Chingford were the dominant force for the next half hour without creating scoring opportunities whilst the Vikings looked hesitant, surrendering possession too easily.
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Five minutes before half-time, after sustained pressure, the Vikings defence cracked, Dave Duffus going over and Meakin making another touchline conversion. Three minutes later he added a long range penalty before, in the half's last act, Matt Hodgson made it 17-6 with a superb 50 metre drop goal.
The Vikings needed to start the second half brightly but within 10 minutes the game was as good as over.
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First Meakin kicked another penalty and then, with the visitors down to 13, he converted Matt Keville's try. Play was soon back on the Vikings' line, but Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Will Hodgson led a breakout which culminated in a try by Mike Braans, making it 27-11 with over a quarter of the game left. But any hopes of a Vikings' revival were dashed as Chingford surged forward, adding a Meakin penalty and Matt Campbell try within 10 minutes. The Vikings' attacks lacked precision and it was no surprise when Duffus intercepted a pass in his half to race away for Chingford's fifth try. With the last play of the game Tom Williams then scored a try.
It was hard to find positives from this game and coach James Brooks was very disappointed, saying: 'This was quite a reality check; Chingford are an experienced side who play with an edge and we struggled to cope physically at the breakdowns. We just didn't click today.'
• North Walsham Raiders drew 12-12 at Diss II, with a draw being a fair result, although the Raiders might have fared better if injuries had not reduced them to 14 players with the best part of 20 minutes remaining when they were leading 12-5.
Ollie Dyke went over wide on the right for a unconverted try, the only score of the first half. Diss equalised early in the second period but the best try of the game fell to the Raiders' impressive flanker Ed Sampson after wing Sam Flaganan had offloaded and Ted Morgan converted.