North Walsham go marching on despite being below their best
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham turned in another solid display to win 24-7 at Old Haberdashers and maintain their 100 percent record at the top of Division 1N.
The Vikings were not at their best but outstanding defence and the capacity to take scoring opportunities from deep were again hallmarks of the victory.
Slow starters last week, the Vikings were quickly out of the blocks this time around with two tries, both converted by Matt Hodgson, within 15 minutes. First Dan Smith came off his wing to break through on halfway and two sharp passes later Jim Riley raced away. Then James Knights put Smith into space and Callum Anthony showed great acceleration and agility before drawing the final defender and passing to Jake Duffield.
Haberdashers halved the deficit when, for once, the Vikings' tackling let them down and Adam Dye scored and Ian McGhee converted. The rest of the half belonged to the visitors but there was no further scoring.
After withstanding some pressure North Walsham scored with their first meaningful attack of the second period, Riley getting his second following Matt Hodgson's precise grubber kick. The bonus point try, 10 minutes from time, was a classic: from within their half the ball went along the line at pace before Knight, twice involved, took an inside pass from Smith to bound over.
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Norwich remain top after hitting back after a lacklustre first half to win 27-16 at South Woodham Ferrers.
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The hosts were more aggressive and determined at the breakdown in the opening period while Norwich made too many errors and found themselves 8-0 down.
Some harsh truths were aired at half-time and Norwich came out a reinvigorated side and a nice line cut by Theo Elliott created the space for a pass to Nick Austin who went over, with Elliott landing the conversion.
Norwich scored again almost straight from the kick-off when Laurence Austin made good ground and found Elliott with just enough space to break the tackle and stroll over under the posts before converting his own try.
The home side regained the lead after following up an unconverted try with a penalty before Elliott put over a couple of penalties to nudge Norwich ahead again. They then scored a nice converted try to seal the game when the forwards created the platform for Adam Huggins to break a couple of tackles and score beneath the posts.
Diss also have maximum points from three games following a 42-29 win over Saffron Walden at Mackenders. They ran in six tries, all of which were converted by Chris Beaird, to maintain an excellent start under new coach Nick Greenhall.
Diss hit back after going 10-0 behind early on, with Matt Richards powering home from long range, Cutu Serrys setting up Shaun Blythe and a dazzling run from George Jones enabling Richards to score again.
In a see-saw second half Beaird and Blythe both scored stunning inidvidual tries while Serruys also touched down after good work from Ben Mckercher.
Southwold are a point further back after having to settle for four points from a hard-fought 22-5 win over a big, physical Epping and Upper Clapton side at a blustery Common.
Wold led 10-5 at the break courtesy of a Luke Wade penalty and a converted try from Matt Warren and cemented the win as Cemil Duruk touched down twice, with his second score being converted by Wade.
Wymondham lost for the first time this season, going down 32-7 at Stowmarket. Their forwards took early control but were unable to finish off several forays and Stowmarket made good use of the counter-attack and the strong wind to score two converted tries and two penalties to take a commanding 20-0 lead into the break.
With several players unavailable, the visitors managed a consolation try from scrum-half Charlie Delaney, who added a fine touchline conversion, but Stowmarket scored two breakaway tries late on to claim a well deserved win.
Newly promoted Holt suffered their second heavy away defeat of the season, going down 62-15 at Romford and Gidea Park.
There were some real mismatches in what was a really competitive league last season, with new boys Beccles losing 102-0 at Cantabrigian and Crusaders going down 111-3 at Ely.
In other one-sided games Thetford beat Wisbech 70-26 and West Norfolk saw off Ipswich WM 68-10. The only evenly matched encounter took place at Thurston, who saw off previously unbeaten Fakenham 19-12.
Norwich Union, North Walsham Raiders and Diss II look like they are going to be the teams challenging for honours in EC1N.
They all made it 15 points from three games on Saturday, with Norwich Union winning 29-7 at Watton, the Raiders 31-24 at Norwich Medics and Diss 41-12 at their Wymondham counterparts.
Union retained top spot on points difference thanks to tries from Jon Spicker, Oli Ward, Ryan Day, Ali McKee and Martyn Webb and two conversions from Alex Sinclair.
The Raiders maintained their good start with tries from Michael Mulhall (2), Mark McCall, Jordan Mustard and Will Minchin and three conversion from Jamie Hooker.