North Walsham give leaders Rochford Hundred a real fright after superb display
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 March 2019
North Walsham turned in a superb display to take London IN leaders Rochford Hundred to the wire before being edged out 24-23.
A superb advertisement for Norfolk rugby confirmed the view that this season’s squad is one of the finest ever to have been assembled at Scottow. Rochford arrived with an unblemished record but were behind for an hour before grabbing the narrowest of wins.
Matt Hodgson kicked from 35 metres to open the scoring and on 24 minutes the visitors spilt the ball and Jim Riley burst through, setting up a try for Joe Milligan which Hodgson converted.
A rolling scrum secured the visitors’ first points but back came the Vikings, Hodgson scoring his second penalty on 36 minutes. The Vikings’ defence from open play was superb all afternoon but Rochford were able to chip in on 39 minutes when two passes were deflected, with the unconverted try making it 13-10 at half-time.
Early in the second half a well worked move saw Red Lion Coltishall man of the match Milligan through for his second try, Hodgson converting, but Walsham’s rhythm was broken by an injury to Jake Duffield and a yellow card for Dan Bird. Two needless penalties got Rochford into an attacking corner and their pack twice did what they do best to make it 20-24.
Walsham reduced the arrears with a penalty from Hodgson, who finished with five kicks from five, but that was the end of the scoring.
Diss again conceded tries at crucial moments as they went down 42-14 against HAC at Mackenders.
The hosts pounded the HAC line for long periods with little reward. They opened the scoring with a Chris Beaird try following a drive from John Bergin and a run from Warren Wilby, Beaird stepping up to convert. But the visitors then seemed to score every time they entered home territory and had secured a four-try bonus point by half-time.
A wonderful driving maul enabled Matt Richards to crash over towards the end of the first half and Diss dominated the second without securing any points while HAC scored two more tries.
Norwich rediscovered their form to register a hard-fought 12-6 win against second-placed Romford and Gidea Park which was based on a huge defensive performance, particularly in the second half.
Romford broke the deadlock with a 14th-minute penalty but were unable to turn their pressure into any more points in the first half. Norwich stepped up in the second half and after four infringements at a five-metre scrum they were awarded a penalty try.
After withstanding some more pressure Norwich then spread the ball wide to the right where debutant Adam Huggins, just 17, went over in the corner for a try that went unconverted.
Romford reduced the deficit with five minutes to go from a penalty but despite piling on the pressure they were unable to score again.
Southwold avenged a defeat at bottom side Basildon earlier in the season when they beat them 49-10 at the Common. Wold were only 12-3 up at the break but then pulled away, with a 25-yard dash to the line from veteran prop Des Brett the highlight. Their other scorers were Luke Wade (2), Gavin Starks, Ollie Carlstroem, Darius Mullen and Guy Blades, with Wade adding a couple of penalties.
Holt battled to a thrilling 30-28 win over promotion rivals Ely at Bridge Road.
After going behind early on Holt recovered to go in at the break 18-7 ahead thanks to two James Wyatt penalties and tries from Bruce van Poortvliet and Tom Jackson, with the former being converted.
They added another seven points after a quick tap penalty from Ali Hughes but the visitors scored two converted tries in quick succession to close the gap. However Wyatt went in at the corner to calm the nerves and Holt held on despite a converted try from Ely.
Wymondham came through a tough test at Fakenham to claim a 31-21 win that saw them finish the day three points ahead of their rivals.
The hosts were 14-12 up at half-time courtesy of tries from Tom Bane-Young and Luke Taylor that were converted by Lloyd Marshall, but the Red and Blacks crossed twice early in the second half and although Fakenham pulled it back to 21-26 through a converted try from Jordan Walker it was Wymonndham who had the final say. Ollie Charlish led the way for the visitors with a hat-trick of tries while Josh Ludkin and Ethan Holmes also touched down and Charlie Delaney added three conversions.
Beccles moved five points clear at the top of the Shield after winning 26-12 at Newmarket while Norwich Union went down 31-19 at Colchester III.
North Walsham won 39-0 at Cambridge III to improve their position at the top of the Plate. Tries came from Harry Dye (2), Tom Younie, Alex Houghton, Ed Sampson, Michael Batty and Sivo Jokini with two conversions from Dan Goodrich.
Swaffham turned on the style to beat West Norfolk II 98-12 in EC2N, with Potter and Newell scoring hat-tricks as they ran in 14 tries.