North Walsham 12,Old Patesians 5

North Walsham got back to winning ways with a hard-earned National League Three South victory over lowly Old Patesians.

North Walsham 12,Old Patesians 5

North Walsham got back to winning ways with a hard-earned National League Three South victory over lowly Old Patesians.

The Vikings, 12-0 up at half-time, looked to have built the platform for a substantial win, but the visitors put in an improved second-half performance and it needed a good defensive display to ensure victory.

Both sides went into the match on a poor run of form, with just two league wins in 2007 for the Vikings and only one for the side from Cheltenham.

The lack of confidence engendered by disappointing results showed; the match was a stop-start affair with little flowing rugby, although it was lit up by a spectacular try from the Vikings.

Jon Curry's difficulties in fielding a settled side were shown again with eight changes, three of them positional, from the team that played at Havant.

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He selected his 13th different half-back partnership in teenagers Lee Sandberg and Harry de Stackpool.

The Vikings took the lead after 12 minutes following their first concerted attack.

They had pinned Patesians back deep in their territory for five minutes, pounding away at the line with a mix of drives from the forwards and passing movements by the backs.

The visitors looked to have cleared the danger only for the try to then come from a seemingly unpromising position. A speculative kick on halfway from de Stackpool caused havoc in the Patesians defence, Pena Sokia grabbed the loose ball on the 22 and outpaced the defenders; Iain Young converted.

The home side then conceded two needless penalties in quick succession, but Rob Nock missed both.

After 25 minutes the Vikings extended their lead with a truly outstanding try, ending a move which went nearly the full length of the field.

It came after a passage of play when some missed tackles and poor passing had put them under pressure in their own 22.

Sam Herrington took a quick tap penalty and Sokia beat three men on his way to the halfway line where the ball was quickly moved to de Stackpool and then Sandberg.

The scrum-half made good ground with a darting run to find Young in support and the winger raced the final 30 metres to score.

The remainder of the half was fairly even with most play well away from the try lines, though it ended with the Vikings on the attack after the forwards had driven well around the fringes to take play into Patesians' 22.

The early part of the second half was quite hectic with some end-to-end play.

After a Patesians' move had broken down near the Vikings' line Herrington raced away and kicked deep into the opposition's half.

Chris Godwin, Young and Herrington were all on hand to harass the defenders, but a penalty was conceded; Patesians tapped and ran, and suddenly play was back on the Vikings' line.

Ten minutes into the second half the visitors scored. There was a series of well defended line-outs and scrums close to the Vikings' line but eventually the pressure told and Nock went over for a try.

The Vikings responded by nearly scoring again themselves.

Sandberg showed good acceleration from a scrum on halfway, and Herrington was in support to continue the move, but his pass did not go to hand.

Soon afterwards the forwards created another opportunity but Tim Groom was held up over the line.

The final quarter of the game was quite scrappy and was mainly played out in the Vikings' territory as Patesians strove for a win to revive their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Neither side displayed much cohesion and there was an abundance of penalties. The Vikings' defence, though, was up to the task with some impressive tackling, especially from the back row of Mike Howard, Deaglan Hall and Faleono Seve.

Don't miss Thursday's EDP for a picture special on North Walsham's annual minis festival.