Memorable second half sees North Walsham prove their class against Chingford
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham's finest 40-minute period this year brought their best result of the season so far in a thoroughly entertaining fixture at Scottow.
Five tries from five members of the back line secured a victory to eclipse the 33-10 score when these two sides met in the spring.
The conditions suggested a crunching forwards' battle and that was how it began with a James Knight pass to Shane van Vuuren drawing an offside offence that Henry Dewing capitalised on to opening the scoring.
Ten minutes later, Walsham scored their first – and only – try of the half after pressure on their own line from a Chingford penalty kick. Once again, Chingford came offside and lineout ball secured the ball for Knight, whose run released Pieter Claussen down the right wing to score, with Dewing making it 10-0.
The Vikings' attempts to involve the back line were being frustrated by a series of handling errors and they couldn't take advantage when Chingford's combative hooker was sin-binned. In fact the visitors scored their first points during this period, Dan Broughtwood slotting a penalty.
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Chingford's forwards were gaining the upper hand and their return to full strength in overtime created the opportunity for them to attack Walsham's right-hand corner. An altercation led to Rhys Davies-Horne and a Chingford player being yellow carded and before the first half ended Chingford's excellent full-back Campbell had gone over for their only try, which Broughtwood was unable to convert.
It looked set to become a long second 40 minutes for the Vikings; but this was not to be the case.
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On 47 minutes, the Walsham backs broke away, Knight played a fantastic one-two with Will Hodgson, and van Vuuren was released down the left to score in the corner to make it 15-8. From this point on, the backs didn't drop a ball and the forwards asserted their superiority. On 56 minutes Vikings were penalised for an inaccurate lineout throw but swiftly turned defence into attack and Dewing scored his second penalty.
The Vikings were playing comfortably enough to think that 10 points would be enough for the win, but every time their forwards made enough space for the backs to move, they looked dangerous. More great teamwork from the centres lead to Knight's try, converted by Dewing to make it 27-8.
More excellent work from the forwards allowed Dewing to nip under the posts on 29 minutes of the half. He converted his own try, and the very real fears of the North Walsham support at half-time had evaporated completely.
Now it was the Chingford defence that were committing the handling errors. Davies-Horne's strong kick to 15 metres out and a fumble from the wing saw Knight scoop up the ball. His pass returned the ball to the kicker, and Dewing touched down between the posts. His conversion completed the scoring and took his personal total to 24.
It only remained for the Vikings defence to resist the last Chingford efforts on their goal line, and to complete the second half shut-out at 29-0.
North Walsham's second-half performance was their most complete this season, and will live long in the memory of those who were there. The only surprising fact is that the excellent performance from the pack was not rewarded with any forward tries – instead their resilience provided the room for the Walsham backs to work.
Once the handling errors were eradicated, the kicking of Dan Goodrich, Dewing and especially Davies-Horne, caused enough panic in the Chingford back line for man-of-the-match Knight to take control.
The Raiders a made it a doubly successful afternoon by defeating an understrength but game Watton 77-5.