Rochford Hundred 29 North Walsham 10: Vikings give good account of themselves against leaders

Roydon Miller gets in a tackle during North Walsham's match at leaders Rochford Hundred Picture: HYW

Roydon Miller gets in a tackle during North Walsham's match at leaders Rochford Hundred Picture: HYWEL JONES - Credit: Archant

North Walsham gave a good account of themselves in this top of the table encounter before the hosts scored four second half tries to secure the win.

Right from the start the leaders' strong set of forwards showed they were expecting to control the game with fierce scrummaging and well-drilled line-outs but the Vikings' defence was excellent.

Despite being down to 14 men, it was the home side who finally got the scoreboard moving just before the break when winger Radzevicus dodged through, scoring so tight to the corner that the conversion was missed.

Only five points down to a very strong side, the Vikings started the second half in good heart and Red Lion Coltishall man-of-the-match Joe Milligan's run firmly lodged the Vikings in enemy territory. The ball was worked from right to left and James Knight skipped through to score, Matt Hodgson converting to put his side ahead.

Gaining the lead inspired the team, as did a series of clever kicks by Hodgson, although there were reminders that Rochford were still dangerous.

It was now a very even contest and Walsham were more than hopeful - but one incident changed the pattern of the match.

On 61 minutes, Rochford's winger Ikhifa broke through the centre and was caught by James Knight. Despite his protests, it looked nasty and Knight was sent to the sin-bin. By the time he returned, the game was lost. The penalty was kicked to touch, line-out ball won and controlled and the maul formed and rolled over the line for a forwards' try, converted by Jay to make it 12-7.

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The Vikings briefly got back into the match with a well taken penalty but on 69 minutes a pod peeled off the back of a ruck and went over for another try. On 77 minutes the now trademark penalty kick was sent into to the corner and a controlled lineout and forwards' try brought Rochford another score and Jay's second conversion.

Rochford completed the scoring seven minutes into overtime with their fourth forwards' try of the second half, their No.8 scooping up the ball at the back of a moving scrum and diving over.

The score reflects the superiority of the Rochford forwards but doesn't show how hard they were made to work. For a 20 minute period at the start of the second half it looked very rosy for Walsham, and who knows what would have happened had Knight not received that yellow card.

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