North Walsham put in brave show - but tough away game goes with formbook
- Credit: Archant
A solid performance from North Walsham wasn't enough to overcome third-placed Amersham and Chiltern, unbeaten at home this season.
The visitors occasionally looked to be in with a chance of upsetting the formbook, but the winners coped with the difficult conditions marginally the better, were more clinical and deserved their victory although the margin perhaps flattered them.
It was a wet and windy day in the Chilterns and, after a difficult journey - completed in taxis after their coach broke down on the M25 - and delayed kick-off, the Vikings found themselves playing against the elements.
The visitors' line was under constant pressure and 10 minutes in, after some typically stout defence, the hosts got their first try, Lloyd Anderson expertly gathering a cross kick.
Gradually the game became more even and a series of penalties, lineouts and drives for Walsham looked as if they could lead to a score but a mixture of solid defence and poor handling kept them out. Having soaked up the pressure Chiltern then extended their lead on the half hour, Anderson getting his second try, converted from the touchline by Chris Jack.
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On the stroke of half-time it became 17-0, Callum Newton scoring following a lineout catch and drive.
As the players emerged for the second half the rain stopped, easing Chiltern's concerns. The Vikings needed an early score and, with Ryan Oakes and Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Todd Scotland in the vanguard, they attacked incessantly for the third quarter, retaining possession well and varying their lines of attack.
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Will Hodgson, playing in the centre, looked to have scored from a tap penalty but the referee ruled otherwise. Generally it was one-way traffic and when the hosts did break out good tackles from Ben O'Hickey and Tom Younie prevented scores.
With 15 minutes left Jake Duffield, who had only been on for five minutes, intercepted on halfway and outstripped the defence, converting the try himself. That was as close as it got though, and five minutes later Dan Kingsley was driven over from a lineout for Chiltern's bonus point try before a Jack penalty completed the scoring.