North Walsham suffer away defeat after failing to make most of slope

Aki Downing touches down to give North Walsham an early lead - but the visitors' joy was shortlived.

Aki Downing touches down to give North Walsham an early lead - but the visitors' joy was shortlived. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

North Walsham often threatened to take control in this competitive fixture but the hosts took the win with a committed, organised display.

The Vikings began the match attacking down the famously sloped pitch but were unable to take full advantage in a half full of errors.

Aki Downing charged down a kick, deflecting it up and then into his own arms for a simple try that went unconverted on five minutes but this first score did not become a pattern.

Both sides attempted to put pressure on by kicking deep, but there was little pattern to the play until on 19 minutes a quick attack through the middle forced Walsham to concede a penalty which Luke Tilly converted.

Brentwood's pack was very efficient and their centres kept attacking to good effect and on 27 minutes Joshua Stannard crossed the line, pulling two Viking defenders with him to make it 8-5.

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Further errors and a rising penalty count gave Brentwood's pack their first try, mauling over for James Killington to score, Tilly missing his second kick as the half finished with the home side eight points to the good.

The Vikings started the second half with two substitutes, one of whom at fly-half was Ben O'Hickey, making his debut. Better kicking, much of it from O'Hickey, and a more committed defence, meant they started well.

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The penalty count started moving in the Vikings' favour and when Paul Bradley was yellow carded Walsham took advantage just after the hour mark when Will Hodgson surged over, O'Hickey kicking the conversion wide. O'Hickey had another chance, 30 metres out but central, to level the scores but it dropped short.

The Vikings were competing much better in all areas but Brentwood remained a potent side, and another surging run from their centre down into the corner broke through the defence and was finished off by Tilly's kick for 20-10.

Then three minutes into added time Bradley – back from a sin-binning – peeled off the back of the scrum to score in the other corner, Tilly once again adding two.

James Brooks awarded the Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match to O'Hickey whose kicking and attacking intent injected some much needed energy into the side.

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