North Walsham warm up for big showdown with seventh straight win
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham beat Eton Manor 45-19 at Scottow to maintain their 100 percent record in London One North - and put themselves in good heart for next week's crunch clash at fellow high-flyers Colchester.
The Vikings found themselves under pressure early on against another of the division's big-hitters and conceded a forwards' try to go 7-0 behind.
But from the restart Eton Manor let the ball bounce into touch in their own 22 and the hosts scored three tries in seven minutes to take control.
On 25 minutes they strung some good moves together and Will Swart went over in the corner. Eton Manor then fluffed the kick-off reception again, allowing Jim Riley to make a break before handing the ball off to Joe Milligan to go under the posts and the lead was stretched to 19-7 in similar circumstances when the ball was kicked ahead and Dan Smith won the foot race.
Heavy forward pressure enabled the visitors to reduce the arrears to just five points at the interval but after a quiet start to the second period the Vikings pulled away again, helped by the opposition picking up a yellow card.
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Excellent passing in the backs put Smith over for his second and the bonus point try and then Matt Hodgson capitalised on the kick that had set up a lineout by dancing in to score and convert to make it 31-14.
Eton Manor clawed back a try but in the closing stages their tiredness allowed the Vikings' backs to display their best attacking football. Smith caught a high kick and returned the earlier favour to Riley who streaked in the last 40 metres and then some brilliant back interplay released Milligan who scythed through to complete scoring.
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Norwich and Diss shared the spoils at Mackenders, with a tight derby encounter finishing all square at 17-17.
Missing six first choice players through injury or unavailability, leaders Norwich were soon under pressure and on six minutes full-back Shaun Blythe showed some serious pace to score near the posts for Ben McKerchar to convert.
The visitors reduced the arrears through a Theo Elliot penalty, but Diss soon reasserted themselves with a unconverted try by Jorge Serruys. Two more Elliot penalties made it 12-9 at the break.
Elliott kicked another penalty to level early in the second half and missed another attempt before kicking a penalty to the corner. From the ensuing lineout skipper Matt Selby, who was outstanding throughout, crashed over in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed but with 15 minutes left Norwich were 17-12 up.
When Norwich replacement centre Rudyard Herbert-Okey was yellow-carded Diss ramped up their efforts and a great diagonal kick saw Blythe pluck the ball out of the air and score his second try to level. Fortunately for Norwich, Chris Beaird missed the conversion.
Southwold, who visit Norwich on Saturday, moved up to second after an impressive 47-19 win over Wymondham.
The hosts played some excellent rugby to go in at the break 25-7 ahead, after the visitors had briefly taken the lead through Charlie Delaney.
Jacob English (2) and Josh Crick got their tries, which all came out wide, while Luke Wade added two conversions and two penalties.
Wymondham reduced the arrears with an unconverted try from Luke Beales before James Hall darted through for the try of the game.
The visitors scored their third try through Eli Greaves only for Southwold to pull away again in the closing stages as Zak Loader and Ollie Carlstroem went in under the posts.
It was another tough afternoon for Holt who crashed 52-0 at South Woodham Ferrers for a fourth defeat in five games.
Fakenham went down 46-21 at Ely, with the hosts moving up to second as result.
With West Norfolk having a weekend off Cantabrigian are the new leaders following a 52-0 win over Crusaders.
Thetford won 29-26 at Woodbridge to make it three wins out of four while Beccles are still looking for their first point after losing 21-10 at home to Ipswich YM.
Norwich Union went marching on a the top, running in 10 tries to win 60-0 at Norwich II.
Matt O'Brien and Oli Ward both went over twice, Callum Slaughter, Tom Easton, Lloyd Davis, Ryan Day, Alex Sinclair and Simon Pitcher also touched down and James Grey was man of the match.
Diss Saracens recorded an excellent 21-0 win at North Walsham Raiders to remain just a point adrift in second, Norwich Medics had an impressive first win of the season, 65-12 against Holt II, and Wymondham II beat Watton 29-17.