Margin of defeat is so tough on Vikings
Tony MarcantonioBasingstoke 21, North Walsham 5: There can be no argument about the result of this pulsating game but the 16-point gap belies the equality of the play. Basingstoke probably shaded both possession and territorial advantage but the Vikings matched them in all other areas and if no more than five points had separated them it would have been a fairer outcome.Tony Marcantonio
There can be no argument about the result of this pulsating game but the 16-point gap belies the equality of the play.
Basingstoke probably shaded both possession and territorial advantage but the Vikings matched them in all other areas and if no more than five points had separated them it would have been a fairer outcome.
Once again injuries had a massive effect on the selection, there being no less than six changes, one positional and two on the bench. Shaun Woodhouse made a rare start at prop, Ross Nicholson earned his first league start and Fijian newcomer Jerry Namadila was on the bench.
The Vikings started in brisk fashion but Basingstoke boasted a well drilled line-out and one close to the Walsham line was turned into a quick ruck and the No 8 Liam Wilkinson drove over to score.
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Still playing to their strengths, Stoke passed up a couple of penalty attempts, opting instead to use the line-out and eventually it paid off, with the ball moved into midfield and skipper Simon Appleby crossing the line. Right on the stroke of half-time scrum-half Mike Goodall slotted a penalty for a 13-point lead.
Walsham made one change at the break, bringing on Namadila in place of young Matt Jarry-Ryan. The Fijian showed great pace when he burst through a gap in support of the ball carrier but the final pass was just too far in front of him to grasp. If it had stuck it could have turned the game.
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The referee then carded Woodhouse - although he picked the wrong man as the prop had committed no offence - but his absence did not unsettle Walsham as they took their game to a new level. Eventually the pressure told as the forwards rumbled over the line, with Mark McCall claiming his third try of the season.
Shortly after Woodhouse returned, McCall was carded, although numbers were soon equalised when Basingstoke lost their skipper as well. Despite massive efforts Walsham could not get the score they deserved and with 10 minutes to go Bruce van Poortvliet was sinbinned for failing to roll away after a tackle and Goodall added three points.
The final score was the harshest of all. When the ball was kicked through the unsighted referee failed to spot Namadila touching it down but did see lock George Scott get a hand on it when it squirted away.