North Walsham 20, Saffron Walden 23

North Walsham suffered their first defeat of the season in London 2NE after falling just short in a tight encounter.

In perfect playing conditions the Vikings welcomed the team immediately below them to Scottow.

Walsham began brightly with the backs receiving clinical lineout ball from Tom Coller. Will Hodgson burst through but, just when a try seemed inevitable, he opted to pass and the chance was lost.

A crucial tackle was missed in the middle of the park and the visitors' wing Marshall scored near the posts, with full back Price converting.

Good forward play kept the visitors in their own half but a relieving kick into the Walsham 22 resulted in a late tackle being punished by Price.

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The home pack continued to supply good ball but the backs either over elaborated or telegraphed their long passes and Price added a further three points when a home forward was caught offside.

A diagonal chip by Blyth then enabled winger Freddie Henley-Hunter to score Walsham's first points. Adie Ball was switched from wing to centre and immediately Jamie Forrester combined with him to make significant inroads into the opposition half but the visitors held out to go into the breeak 13-5 ahead.

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Walsham began the second half with a strong forwards' drive and forced a scrum from which Dean Blyth darted over for a try.

The re-start ball was kicked long into the home 22 where Price kicked another penalty for an infringement at a ruck. But Walsham hit back and from tigerish play by Chris Godwin the ball reached fullback Jon Younie who scored. With Keith Fowles in the front row, the Walsham pack were now completely on top.

A collision resulted in a visiting front row forward sustaining a neck injury which held up play for 11 minutes. Uncontested scrums were called and this immediately nullified Walsham's ascendency in the tight. The pack continued to exert pressure and crossed the try line but the referee judged that the ball was held up. And the visitors then took a firm grip in the game when a long kick saw Miles cross kick for Marshall to score the visitors' best try.

A final forward surge upfield saw the ball reached Harry Downing who scored to make the final score 23 -20 to Saffron Walden. The Walsham forwards provided plenty of good ball but the talented young backs did not execute accurately enough. The home side will rue the fact that they did not manage any successful conversions or penalty kicks.

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